Scott Hanselman

Web Platform Installer 2.0 and Visual Studio Web Developer 2010 Express

April 28, '10 Comments [13] Posted in ASP.NET | ASP.NET MVC | IIS | VS2010
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I was setting up a new machine for presentations and I was getting ready to install Visual Studio 2010 Express and figured I'd go see if the Web Platform Installer (we call it "Web-P-I") had the new versions of VS2010 ready to go.

If you're not familiar, I've blogged about this before. WebPI is a 2meg download that basically sets up your machine for Web Development and downloads whatever you need automatically. It's a cafeteria plan for Microsoft Web Development. It's really matured in the last two years and it's THE fastest way to take a machine from fresh Windows install to "ready to dev".

If you've already got stuff installed, WebPI won't mess up your installation. It will instead give you a list of extensions you might want to add or turn on. For example, here I'm downloading the free version of VS2010, Visual Studio Web Developer 2010 Express and adding the URL Rewrite 2.0 module to IIS.

Web Platform Installer 2.0 (5)

It sucks to say it, but the installer on SQL Server 2008 Express is insane. My brain just isn't wired to correctly install SQL Express and I always struggle with it. Additionally, I'm always trying to figure out how to add SQL Server 2008 Management Studio Express and I get lost. So, I've stopped trying and I use WebPI to do it; see the screenshot below.

Web Platform Installer 2.0 (3)

However, it's more than setting up the dev  enviro, it also acts as an installer for Open Source apps from the Web App Gallery. If you're a Umbraco, Joomla, or Drupal person, it'll install the app and setup IIS for you.

Web Platform Installer 2.0 (4)

WebPI inside uses the Web Deployment engine I talked about at Mix this year called Web Deployment Made Awesome: If You're Using XCopy, You're Doing It Wrong. It's easy to make your Open Source application installable via WebPI. I wrote about how I added support for a WebPI-based installation in DasBlog last year. It'll anything that can run on IIS, not just ASP.NET apps. If you've got an app, go submit it to the gallery!

Go check it out. 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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Thursday, April 29, 2010 12:04:30 AM UTC
"'s THE fastest way to take a machine from fresh Windows install to "ready to dev""

So, so true. One program to set up many other packages is a huge win. Windows needs something like that built in!

And an amen on the SQL 2008 installation - it is so troublesome when done manually, I let WPI handle it for me.
Thursday, April 29, 2010 7:10:13 AM UTC
Scott, first link is broken "Web Platform Installer ->"
Thursday, April 29, 2010 7:52:49 AM UTC
Why can't we choose MySQL or PostgreSQL from the database category?
Thursday, April 29, 2010 8:35:04 AM UTC

WebPI is real neat tool -- BUT Microsoft no longer accept APP submissions under the Tools category. Crying shame as I there are plenty of ISV's who can push more and more content onto the WebPI.

Bad move from Microsoft IMHO.
Thursday, April 29, 2010 11:01:23 AM UTC
Ahh, we share the frustration on getting Management Studio installed on a box with SQL Express. WebPI to the rescue
Thursday, April 29, 2010 12:09:50 PM UTC

"It sucks to say it, but the installer on SQL Server 2008 Express is insane. My brain just isn't wired to correctly install SQL Express and I always struggle with it. Additionally, I'm always trying to figure out how to add SQL Server 2008 Management Studio Express and I get lost."

You, me, and everyone I know. I'm thinking of starting "Why, SQL installer, why!?" club and inviting most of the modern world. We could get t-shirts.
Thursday, April 29, 2010 1:06:08 PM UTC
SQL Server 2008 Express is insane

Why did them start making it so complicated after SQL 2000? Please let them have some of the devs that created the Office setup to fix the SQL installs.
Thursday, April 29, 2010 1:34:37 PM UTC
Hey Scott - I just used this at home over the weekend and it was great except for one thing - where's the option to change the path that everything gets installed to? My poor little SSD boot drive is getting squeezed!
Thursday, April 29, 2010 2:41:49 PM UTC
Speaking of a terrible Sql 2008 install experience. I needed to install "SQl Server 2008 SP1 Express Database with Advanced Services" the other day. I needed to customize the accounts, setup SSRS, enable full text search, enable filestream, set specific directories, and install the tools.

I spent over an hour scouring the internet for the download link. The Microsoft page that google/bing kept taking me to kept shoving the damned web-pi down my throat which didn't have what i needed.

Now that R2 is out, there is finally a reasonable easy to use download link that doesn't try and force me to use the WebPI.

I have nothing against the Web PI, but there are times when I know better and choose not to use it, please don't shove it down my throat.

Thursday, April 29, 2010 7:23:32 PM UTC
I still get the 'you must install visual studio 2008 SP1 before you can install'. SP1 has been installed for ages. Apparently, I can either uninstall VS 2008 (insane) or fiddle with Registry values. Charming.

I haven't had something cause so much nerd rage in years. For anyone else getting this false dependency error, WPI sure won't help.

If nothing else, I certainly take comfort knowing that Hanselman gets beat up by the SQL Server 2008 juggernaut too.
T Morgan
Friday, April 30, 2010 4:58:02 AM UTC
Hey Scott,

Is there a way to change the dark UI on Visual Web Developer Express 2010. Someone wrote a theme editor but it only seems to work for the full Visual Studio version. Any ideas?

Wednesday, May 12, 2010 8:04:36 PM UTC
hey, Web Platform Installer sucks, install a world of installations files, i count a total of 10 programs only of Microsoft SQL Server Express 2008, so wtf!!!! my add/remove programs are filled all by Microsoft programs and for what???, to program one simple form???!, i miss the first .net framework versions that only install one package i there you get all the stuff.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010 3:47:53 PM UTC
This site has a fix for the "you must install visual studio 2008 sp1 before you can install sql server 2008 management studio express" error in the web platform installer:

I had to change the registry entry at HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\DevDiv\[ProductFamily]\Servicing\9.0\[ProductEdition]\[ProductLanguage]\SP
to 1
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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.