Last fall, Microsoft rolled out version 1 of its installer for its Web-platform stack of software. At Mix '09 last week, the company refreshed the installer in the form of a new beta for Web Platform Installer 2.0 and introduced a new gallery of third-party Web apps.
With the introduction of the "Microsoft Web platform," company officials were hoping to make it clearer and easier as to exactly what kinds of products and technologies might be useful to Web developers. The first iteration of that platform was aimed at Microsoft developers; the updated version, which Microsoft previewed at the Mix conference, is attempting to be more inclusive and appeal to Web developers in general.
The newly launched beta of the Web Platform Installer 2.0 alleviates the need for developers to go to a bunch of different Web sites to download and install various Web-dev products. The 2.0 release also installs the community version of PHP (Version 5.2.9-1). Why? Lauren Cooney, Group Product Manager of Microsoft's Web Platform, explained the decision to include PHP in the Microsoft Web Platform in her latest blog post:
"Many popular applications are built using PHP, and Microsoft wants to ensure that its customers, community members, and developers are able to use these solutions on top of the Microsoft Web Platform – and including PHP inside of the Web PI simplifies this for Web developers."
Other products and technologies included in the beta of the 2.0 Platform Installer:
- Internet Information Services (IIS) 5.1 on Windows XP SP3
- IIS 6.0 on Windows Server 2003 SP2
- IIS 7.0 on Windows Vista SP1 and Windows Server 2008
- SQL Server 2008 Express
- .NET Framework 3.5 SP1
- Visual Web Developer 2008 Express Edition
- Various IIS Extensions
- ASP.NET and features such as ASP.NET MVC
- Silverlight Tools for Visual Studio
As part of the updated platform, Microsoft also is making available a third-party marketplace of Web apps, which includes a number of open-source offerings. Among the apps in the Windows Web Application Gallery: Acquia Drupal, DotNetNuke, WordPress, dasBlog, Gallery, SilverStripe, BlogEngine.NET, SubText, Umbraco, and ScrewTurn Wiki. Ultimately, Microsoft is hoping the Web Application Gallery becomes an app store for open-source services and support, in addition to being a distribution platform.
Web developers: What do you think of Microsoft's updated Web stack -- and especially about the company's decision to include PHP as part of the offerings that can be downloaded by the unified installer?