I always thought Microsoft made a mistake when they eliminated
Visual Interdev as a stand alone product. I guess I wasn't alone
because it looks like it's coming back as Visual Web Developer 2005
It is apparently based on the same code as Visual Studio 2005 (aka. Whidbey),
but it's been trimmed down some. Here's Microsoft's explanation:
The Express products are an expansion of the Visual Studio product line to
include lightweight, easy to use, and easy to learn tools for hobbyists,
enthusiasts, and students who want to build dynamic Windows applications, Web
sites, and Web services.
Anyway, if nothing else, it's a way to get to play with the ASP.NET 2.0 Beta bits.
First off, read the FAQ on the Express product line that I link to at the bottom of this page.
You may simply not want to install this product yet. There are a number of issues. First, it
only supports development using ASP.NET 2.0 which you can't currently legally deploy anywhere
because of it's Beta status. Second, it is a Beta 1 build and may cause major issues with your
machine... I would certainly not install it on any computer you can't blow out and rebuild.
(If you don't have a spare computer lying around, you might want to take a look at
Microsoft Virtual PC 2004.
I recently started using it for this type of testing and it has been really great.
There's a free trial if you want to take it for a spin.) Third, it installs it's own web server.
I put it on a WinXP Home box to play with it, but I have no clue how well it handles co-exisiting
with other web servers or other installations of ASP.NET.
Assuming you actually want to install, along with Visual Web Developer 2005 Express Edition,
you'll need to install SQL Server 2005 Express and the MSDN Express Library, but don't bother
downloading them. The install program will do it for you. The total download is just under 300MB.
Here are some screen caps of my install:
The User Interface
The UI should look familiar to anyone who has used Visual Studio or Web Matrix. There's really not much new here.
Here's a quick shot of the workspace (click for full size) and the about dialog box:
The web server setup screen should look very familiar to anyone who downloaded the ASP.NET Web Matrix:
The new web based ASP.NET administration tool (click for full size).
Well that's enough for now... as the beta period progresses and we get closer to actual release we'll
check back in with this great little tool. For now, check out the links below for more information
or, if you're really brave, to get a copy of your own to play with.