Scott Hanselman

Microsoft Web Application Installer - Open Source Web Apps Delivered and Installed

October 17, '08 Comments [24] Posted in ASP.NET | Open Source | Programming | Source Code | Tools
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image Remember last week when I mentioned the Microsoft Web Platform Installer? It's an bootstrapper that gets you setup for free web development, all in a single application. It'll setup IIS7, get you Visual Studio, SQL Server, .NET, etc. Cool. And there was much rejoicing (except XP folks, sorry.)

Well, the team just released the Web Application Installer (Beta). Get it? First Platform, now Applications.

What does it do? Well, how about a screenshot.

Microsoft Web Application Installer (Beta)

Yes, that's Drupal in there. And PHPBB. And WordPress. Sweet.

I've talked to the team, and they've promised that DasBlog is next in line to get in that list o' applications. It's a *ahem* gem of an application. Well, it's a great start. Open Source, baby, baby.

The installer knows about prerequisites, although the app can't currently install them for you. However, it'll point you to all the correct places to get what you need.

Microsoft Web Application Installer (Beta) (2)

When you've satisfied the prerequisites, it'll setup IIS for you, prompt you for application-specific configuration and you're up and running. It'll also validate the configuration so you'll know ahead of time if the app will work.

Microsoft Web Application Installer (Beta) (3)

There are people at Microsoft do care about Open Source. I'm telling you guys and gals, we're turning this ship around. Slowly, but we are.

Oh, by the way, the Web Application Installer uses and ships ICSharpCode.SharpZipLib, which is GPL'ed Open Source. It has an exception, however:

"..gives you permission to link this library with independent modules to produce an executable, regardless of the license terms of these independent modules, and to copy and distribute the resulting executable under terms of your choice, provided that you also meet, for each linked independent module, the terms and conditions of the license of that module. An independent module is a module which is not derived from or based on this library"

Which is legal Open Source license speak for "link on, brother, link on." There you go, Microsoft ships an app with a mostly GPL'ed library. Madness. Cats and Dogs, living together, mass hysteria!

Go check them out:

They require Vista or Windows Server, x86 or x64 and you'll need admin rights. Enjoy.

About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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Friday, October 17, 2008 7:59:25 AM UTC
Vista only... hmmm... you realise that XP installs still outnumber Vista installs 3 or 4 to 1...
Friday, October 17, 2008 8:02:01 AM UTC
It would be cool if you could create your own web application installer for your project, I know there is the web deployment project but it is not that good. I working on a WiX web application installer but it is a lot of work to get it done right.
Friday, October 17, 2008 8:16:38 AM UTC
Great stuff! What would it take to get umbraco included in that list too?
Friday, October 17, 2008 8:18:00 AM UTC
Yesss. @Trokel: I'm agree. Is it possible to create our own application installation?
I think it is. All you need is to compress your application files and then upload it but should we observe any standard in order to make our application compatible with Microsoft Application Installer?
Friday, October 17, 2008 8:39:39 AM UTC
So this only works on Vista, presumably that means Server 2008 too?
David
Friday, October 17, 2008 8:51:25 AM UTC
Only Vista can not bee usefull or? Server 2008 has to work too.
Friday, October 17, 2008 9:38:57 AM UTC
Package Management from Microsoft. At last. I've waited for this moment for years.
RichB
Friday, October 17, 2008 9:48:40 AM UTC
thanx for this info...
Friday, October 17, 2008 10:36:30 AM UTC
Yeah, what Torkel said. My first thought (apart from "No effin way!!") was "how can I use this". It looks a bit, er, not pretty, but if it does what it says on the tin then it'll be happy times indeed!
Dan F
Friday, October 17, 2008 12:26:03 PM UTC
Il will try it...
Florim Maxhuni
Friday, October 17, 2008 12:29:55 PM UTC
Vista only is NOT good enough, the truth is Vista does NOT work and many peopel including myself have had to revert back to XP, which in my opinion is a far superior OS. Microsoft should stop trying to enforce people to adopt sotware versions which poeple are not willing to embrace, it's should be a natural and gradual progression towards adopting teh technology, not a forced and aggressive approach.
Stephen
Friday, October 17, 2008 12:47:27 PM UTC
I would imagine the "Vista or Server" only is more related to the prerequisite of IIS 7, rather than some push from Microsoft to get you to upgrade.
The configuration and extensibility of IIS 7 is much different than for IIS 6, which I'm betting these installers take advantage of.
Friday, October 17, 2008 1:50:43 PM UTC
Hey, this is at least a step in the right direction. Let's be happy that they're even thinking open source. Rome wasn't built in a day, nor will MS go completely open in a day.

All I can say is thank you to Scott, et al, for doing what they do.
Mark S.
Friday, October 17, 2008 2:35:35 PM UTC
I love the "Ghost Busters" reference. "Cats and Dogs, living together, mass hysteria!" (Bill Murry) Awesome ! (I like to say the same quote when stuff is just crazy).
Friday, October 17, 2008 3:34:51 PM UTC
Thanks! Will save some time.
Friday, October 17, 2008 4:10:36 PM UTC
I agree - great idea and a great help to all of the budding developers out there. Now, how do we get dashCommerce on the list of applications? Whose back do i have to scratch?
Friday, October 17, 2008 4:27:15 PM UTC
Actually Scott, I convinced to put Subtext in there in lieu of DasBlog. I told them about issues with DasBlog formatting hard-drives or some such.

j/k
Friday, October 17, 2008 4:28:17 PM UTC
Regarding Vista only, the team is looking into what it would take to make it work on XP, and Windows 2003. No promises yet, but they're on it.
Friday, October 17, 2008 5:30:31 PM UTC
Yes, it's about IIS7, more than it's about Vista. But like Phil says, the team CAN hear you.
Friday, October 17, 2008 5:44:46 PM UTC
I agree with Torkel that there should be an easy way to deploy my web application using this tool. That would be fantastic!

It should also be easy for third parties, like Telerik, to make extensions for both Installers. I should be able to install the whole development stack, including 3rd party tools, from a file share. That really would take the process of setting up a new development station and make it fast and simple.
Friday, October 17, 2008 7:30:36 PM UTC
You probably know this and may consider it's just nit-picking, but AFAIK Graffiti is not OSS. It looks from your post (and from others I have read) like everything listed there was Open Source, and it may confuse some users of your app.
Wednesday, October 22, 2008 4:30:59 AM UTC
Why use ICSharpCode.SharpZipLib and not System.IO.Compression?
Wednesday, October 22, 2008 11:14:13 AM UTC
This looks promising!

I just managed to make a custom webinstaller that includes SQL Server Express with permissions and everything. This project looks great for Vista Deployment. I am definately going to try and migrate my setup to this!
Jasper Rijkeboer
Thursday, November 06, 2008 9:04:31 PM UTC
Euan Garden Said: Why use ICSharpCode.SharpZipLib and not System.IO.Compression?

Some of the packages are tar'd and System.IO.Compression does not support that yet. I was lucky enough to be on the team that wrote this and it was a great deal of fun and extremely flexible to add additonal apps.

Enjoy
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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions and do not represent my employer's view in any way.