Monday, April 25, 2011

Microsoft Web Platform Installer - AWESOME!

So, maybe I am a little bit late to the game in talking about this but I just discovered it today. In my humble opinion, getting IIS 7.5 setup (Microsoft's web server software for Windows Server) is a royal pain in the arse! I mean, the initial install is a breeze, don't get me wrong, but anything after that is a bit convoluted... My task, which I thought would be simple, was to install Drupal (a very powerful website CMS - content management system, blogger and wordpress are also examples of CMS's) on my virtual Windows Server 2008 R2 machine. Two days and a whole lot of reading later and I still couldn't get the blasted thing to work!

Back to my original premise, working with IIS is a royal pain in the arse! Apparently I am not alone in thinking this because today I stumbled upon a little tool that made me smile because it addresses my compaint(s)! They call it the Microsoft Web Platform Installer. It's small, free, and OH SO VERY POWERFUL :). This little beauty is made for those of us who want to setup a web server using Windows Server and IIS and don't want to have a brain hemorrhage in the process. What does it do?

After the short install period, you open up the program (we will refer to it as WPI for short) and it gives you a list of common programs/applications/CMS's that web developers and nerds like me. You click the "ADD" button next to anything you want to run and then click the install button and that's it! WPI scans your system, figures out your setup, and installs and configures all the necessary dependencies. It's amazing!

My primary goals was to install Drupal on a complete Microsoft platform using the tools native to Windows Server. This isn't the only option. If you are starting to dip your feet into the waters of web development a friend of mine recently pointed out an amazing website called Bitnami. The folks at Bitnami have made easy to use install packages for various open-source CMS's (such as Drupal). These packages are an "all-in-one" kind of solution, much like WPI. The difference is that they install and opensource server stack (which many of these CMS's are natively built for) whereas WPI is meant for Microsoft Windows Server. This would be my preferred solution if I wasn't already running Server 2008R2 with IIS.

If you are interested in reading more about WPI, take a look at this link:



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