Yesterday we launched a new website for web developers and professionals, www.microsoft.com/web. Additionally, we've streamlined the entire download experience for obtaining the Microsoft Web stack, with our new Microsoft Web Platform Installer(WebPI, as we call it).
What does this mean? Well, a few things. These are small changes by industry standards, but it's a shift in the right direction for many reasons.
First, we've made it easier for developers and hosters to download and configure the web stack. We've recognized the fact that in the past, it wasn't easy for developers to actually obtain the stack - you had to go to several different websites, Google search for the right products and versions, and then attempt to configure them together for download. Frankly, the process was awful (I went through this experience when I came onboard to MSFT, and got too frustrated to even complete the download). So, with the Web PI, developers and hosters alike no longer have this issue.
The WebPI overview states:"The Web Platform Installer Beta (Web PI) provides a single, free package for installing and configuring Microsoft's entire Web Platform, including IIS7, Visual Web Developer 2008 Express Edition, SQL Server 2008 Express Edition and the .NET Framework. Using the Web Platform Installer’s simple user interface, you can select specific components or install the entire Microsoft Web Platform onto your computer. To help you stay up-to-date with product releases, the Web Platform Installer always contains the most current versions and new additions to the Microsoft Web Platform."
Second, we've soft-launched a new site, Microsoft.com/web.This is a very early version of the site, but the site itself is a content aggregator for everything web. So, for instance, if you're a developer, designer, or business focused, you can all go to one site to get great information on what's happening right now with web development and strategy. The content isn't *quite* where we need it to be yet, but you'll be seeing improvements over the next few weeks on this. Also, we'd like your feedback on the site.
Third (and to give you a bit of the inside scoop), we're working with our product groups to make sure that the product we're putting out the door is the RIGHT product out there, and affordable (or free) for web developers. We've been meeting with a variety of different teams around this - and I'll have more to talk about here as things progress.
What are we gearing up for? Well, let's just say something bigger. We've gotten lots of feedback about how the Microsoft Web Platform needs to be more interoperable with other languages, applications, and such, as well as provide turn-key and simple solutions for businesses wanting to get up on the web. You can expect to see a some announcements in the next few weeks about how we're delivering this for developers. I can't say much more, but it's definitely a step in the right direction for Microsoft, and I'm really excited about our new focus on making web development easier for not just .NET developers, but developers overall.
Please let us know what we can be doing better - as always, firstname.lastname@example.org for comments/suggestions/feedback - and we'll work to incorporate in what we can.