Aaron Stebner's WebLog

Thoughts about setup and deployment issues, WiX, XNA, the .NET Framework and Visual Studio

Download Visual Studio Whidbey Express Versions Now!!

Download Visual Studio Whidbey Express Versions Now!!

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My former group (Visual Studio and .NET Framework) has signed off on the beta1 bits for the new 8.0/2.0 versions, codenamed Whidbey.  One of the last big setup projects I worked on was the download logic for the Express SKUs - these are replacements for the “standard” versions of Visual Basic, C#, J#, C++, along with an additional SKU named Visual Web Developer (think of VID 6.0 with all the cool stuff that goes with ASP.NET and without all of the annoyances of VID).

The coolest thing of all is that you can use the downloader to get yourself a free copy of any of the 5 beta express SKUs and you don't even officially have to be a part of the Visual Studio beta program.  Just go to the site at http://lab.msdn.microsoft.com/express/ and choose the version(s) you want, and off you go.

I'd be really curious to hear what you think about the experience of downloading and installing Visual Studio directly from the web, so if you try it, drop me a comment.  If you're not a part of the Whidbey beta program and you have any bugs to report and/or suggestions for ways to make the experience better I will fill out a bug report for you so your voice will be heard by the Visual Studio team.....

 

  • Well, I hate to say it, but given the fact that the suggestion with the highest number of votes and highest importance on LadyBug right now is: "Make the downloads available as normal HTTP downloads, instead of requiring that custom downloader", I guess your efforts are not entirely appreciated.

    Consider this: Many people want to install the bits on more than one machine. Having to download the package on each machine takes so much more time than downloading it once on a fast machine, copying the installer to a CDR or memorystick, and use that for all installs. And that holds even if all machines have a reasonably fast internet connection. If one of the machines involved has no network connection at all, a slow modem connection, or an unreliable connection, it gets even worse.

    Given the fact you are targetting 'hobyists and students' with the express SKUs, I think you have overestimated the quality of the network connection available to the target group. Also, don't forget that network connection quality standards are not equal all over the world.
  • Thank you for your feedback, I definitely understand where you're coming from here. There will be efforts in future Visual Studio betas to include CD-based SKUs that have all of the bits in one place so you don't have to use the download manager package that is currently posted on MSDN. I am not sure if the individual EXE packages will be available in the same way though, I'm checking into that with the folks I know on the Visual Studio setup team.

    In the meantime, you can use a little reverse engineering to get to the EXE packages themselves. If you download the custom downloader, and then go to your %temp% directory while the EULA page is on-screen, you should see a folder there named SIT*.TMP (where * is a randomly generated set of alphanumerics). Go in there and find the file baseline.dat and open it in notepad. Then you can search for each of the components and find a URL value, something like URL=fwlink/?LinkId=30093&clcid=0x409. If you go to a browser window and type in http://www.microsoft.com/ and then add the URL value to the end it should redirect you to the location of the package. Doing this with the above example will let you download the .NET Framework 2.0 beta for example.

    Hope this helps.....and again thank you for your feedback, I'm making sure it is heard and hopefully will be addressed before the final version of Visual Studio Whidbey ships.
  • I used Ethereal (as opposed to looking in TMP files) and downloaded the Framework and Visual C++ package.

    The Framework 2.0 Beta installed fine. But running this 50mb-or-so package still starts another download.

    Meaning we can't use the Express software. Please make it downloadable! Do you want us to be able to use the software or not?
  • I'm sorry to hear about these problems, and I've posted a new entry in my blog with some additional possible workarounds (http://blogs.msdn.com/astebner/archive/2004/07/05/173639.aspx). Hopefully direct download will be enabled in a future beta, I'm definitely passing on that feedback and I'll push for that.

    I'm curious to know more about the additional download that you saw. I'm guessing that the 50mb-or-so package you mention is the VC++ Express setup package itself - vcsetup.exe. Is that right? Do you know what it is trying to download, and at what point in setup? If you run it from the local hard drive it should detect that and not try to download anything additional.
  • thank u
  • I want to download in visual studio softwares
  • Hi Chakkaravarthi - You can find download information for the Visual Studio 2005 products at http://msdn.microsoft.com/vstudio.
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