Remind me to tell you some time why the IIS team is so
evil clever. It' cool to see the first steps of a master plan to make things awesome start to come to fruition.
I've said over and over that IIS7 is rocking sweet and once you start using it, you'll never want to go back. It's all part of the whole /web platform and it's always been ridiculously tedious to install. It's getting WAY easier, all as part of a super-secret master plan I can't tell you about or I'd have to kill you.
Seriously, the Web Platform Installer, or Web-PI, hit Release Candidate last night. The #1 complaint on my last post about this was that it didn't support XP. Bam:
Supported Operating Systems are: Windows Vista RTM, Windows Vista SP1, Windows XP, Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2008
How ya like me now, son? ;) Also works for Server 2003, so that's cool.
Web-PI's got a number of cool things, but one subtle one you might take note of is the Web Deployment Tool Beta (MSDeploy) that I mentioned before. This tool makes it very easy to package up all the configuration schmutz of your application and (re)deploy it elsewhere. As such, it supports synchronizing your sites and applications across server farms, which was a huge problem for me when I was in banking. It integrates nicely with IIS Manager too.
Also of note is the inclusion of ASP.NET MVC Beta as an option, as well as URL Scan 3.1 and IIS 7.0 manager which lets you manage IIS7 from non-IIS7 machines like, ahem, XP machines. Basically all the things that were hard to find, now, less so.
Now, my first worry when I saw this was, "well, some small team is doing this applet and it's neat and all but soon it will fall into disrepair and fade away, like calc.exe." Well, I just got a personal call from Bill Staples who manages all this stuff and he told me
"oh no, we've got a master plan."
He then proceeded to tell me the master plan and it was good™. I can't tell you, but I'm working on ways to tell you without Bill firing me. Regardless, there's some cool stuff coming in the /web space. It's very tidy, very open, very clean, very sourcey, very appy, very nice.
So, go get the Web Platform Installer and the Web Application Installer and ponder on why there's a "A - F | G - L | M - R | S - T | U - Z" navigation thing on a page that only has 7 products for download.