A built-in file-sytem based application server is one of the great features in VS 2005. It gives you the option of creating a new Web application in any folder in your file-system without requiring Internet Information Services (IIS) or Front Page Server extensions installed on your computer. This is awesome because it allows users to develop and debug Web applications without having IIS installed and without having Administrator access. This server further provides users with a more secure way of building applications on a development machine, as the Web server cannot be accessed remotely, and automatically shuts down when Whidbey is closed.
While the file-system based server has been in VS2005 since Beta 1, there was no support on our designers for those types of web service applications. Consequently, in Beta 1, IIS was required if you were planing on implementing any web applications on the Application Designer. This resulted in significant customers feedback. So... I'm happy to say... in Beta 2... we will have support for the built in file-system based application server! Architects/Developers will no longer need IIS to implement applications on our designer. Furthermore, you can now bind a file-system based ASP.NET application to an IIS Logical host to verify that it can be deployed in production; when you will no longer use the built-in file system based application server.
In fact, we believe that most customers will prefer the file-system based application during development. Therefore, ASP.NET Applications now default to file-system based web-applications on the design surface. To switch to IIS based web applications you will now have to manually enter an http:// location for the ASP.NET web application project in the 'Project' property.
I'd love to know how many people plan on continuing to use IIS during their development now that VS2005 has a built-in file-system based application server. Do you feel that we should have made the file-system based ASP.NET application the default?