Web Platform Installer: Trying to make it easier to setup for web development
There's a renewed focus, in my opinion, to make things easier to find around The Big Blue Monster. I'm working with a bunch of folks on a more official version of http://www.smallestdotnet.com and some changes around making the .NET Framework easier to find, as a small example.
Getting a machine up to speed for Web Development is another thing that's kind of a hassle because you need to go get (and know to go get) IIS7, Visual Web Developer 2008 Express Edition, SQL Server 2008 Express Edition and the .NET Framework, yada yada yada.
There's a new site at http://www.microsoft.com/web and a new (beta) of the Microsoft Web Platform Installer (blog announcement). It's basically a super bootstrapper that keeps track of where to get stuff and organizes them as profiles.
If I select "Your Choice" I get a complete list from a catalog of things that can be downloaded. I can auto-select options from a dropdown like "PHP Developer" or "Classic ASP Developer." Cool that those options are there as well as ASP.NET Developer. There's a manifest that it downloads to get the latest versions of each of these.
On the Web Server tab, it'll pick the right IIS modules you'd need to get a site up, but it also shows as options some of the more interesting (and not well publicized) modules like ARR and BitRate Throttling that have been released since IIS7 came out.
If you're running a Web Development shop, it's certainly a quick way to get everything you'd need installed, including the free version of Visual Studio Web Express.
Check it out, and if you have any trouble or find anything interesting, you can report it directly to the team at the Web Platform Installer Forum. If you like it or hate it, let them now. It'd be interesting to see how extensible it can be and if they choose to extend it other developer products.