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May, 2009 - Katrien's MSDN Blog - Site Home - MSDN Blogs
  • Katrien's MSDN Blog

    Microsoft Web Platform Installer: what is it and how to install it?


    The Microsoft Web Platform Installer was officially announced at MIX09. The Web PI as it’s abbreviated is your best tool get access to Microsoft’s web platform runtimes, tools and database. It only installs free products, beginning with the platform tools but it also allows you to easily install ASP.NET community tools like DotNetNuke, Umbraco and others, but also PHP open source projects like Acquia Drupal, Wordpress, and more.

    In this post I’m focusing on the platform and not using the gallery, which will be for a later post.

    Just this weekend I re-installed my old laptop at home with the Windows 7 RC, so having a new clean install is really a good moment to try out the Web Platform Installer. No need to get several tools from several download sites, search for the latest version and so forth.

    Before getting started: supported platforms

    Web PI is supported on the following platforms: Windows Vista, Windows Vista SP1, Windows XP SP2+, Windows Server 2003 SP1+, Windows Server 2008

    Here I’m doing the installation on a new Windows 7 RC version, which itself is not really a supported platform. Logical as Windows 7 is not released but I had no issues except a warning about SQL Server 2008 Express, for which I made sure to add SP1 after completing the Web PI installation.

    Installing the web platform with the Web Platform Installer

    Download, choose either Web PI 1.0 (released) or 2.0 which is still in beta. Here I’m going to install version 2.0 since I want access to some beta stuff and also because at a later stage I would like access to the gallery.

    Go to and click Download and run. This will launch the installer.


    The first screen you’re presented with shows you the latest additions.
    Note: this is exactly the same screen that is presented to you when you re-run the Web Platform Installer later on to add technologies.

    Choosing which items to install is straightforward, and you get detail information about each of the detail options. For example, on the web platform section I’m installing the Web Server, Frameworks and Runtimes, Database and Tools. Under each of these there are extra options, that you can customize to your needs. By default, the most used and logical ones are selected but you may choose to add other features as well.


    Let’s drill further on the Web Server section.

    I surely want to run ASP.NET as well as have support for the latest Media services on Internet Information Server. To add those I choose to “Customize” the Web Server element.

    Web Platform Installer: IIS custom choices

    In case I’m not sure what a specific feature means I can click the icon (i) icon. This gives you extra information and a link to even more details about the selected feature. In the screenshot below you can see I selected to know more about IIS Media Services 3.0 Beta:
    IIS Media Services 3.0 Beta

    Since this is the Web PI 2.0 beta I do have a choice of some technologies still in beta like the Application Request Routing 2.0 Beta or the IIS Media Services 3.0 Beta.

    Framework and Runtimes

    In the framework and runtimes section you have the option to install ASP.NET MVC 1.0 (which I’m doing), .NET Framework 3.5 SP1 and PHP 5.2.9.-2.


    The proposed database is SQL Server 2008 Express, as well as the SQL Server 2008 Management Studio Express and SQL Server 2008 Management Objects.


    In the tools section the free Visual Web Developer 2008Express with SP1 (the latest service pack already applied), and the Silverlight 2 Tools for Visual Studio. Since this is the beta one the option to install Silverlight 3 Tools for Visual Studio. I know the two sets of tools (Silverlight 2 and Silverlight 3 Beta) cannot be installed on the same machine. And yes, the Web PI correctly checks for this and warns you. I had to try it out and was glad the check is built in :-)

    Now that I have chosen all items I wish to install I can either go ahead and get my machine setup, or also choose to install applications from the gallery. I’m skipping this part for now and go ahead and click on “Install”. The Web PI shows the items selected along with any specific license terms, which in order to install, well of course I do need to accept. Let’s do that.

    license terms

    Once installation starts, depending on the items you have chosen there might be some extra configuration screens appearing. In my case I selected the SQL Server 2008 Express, for which I now get the chance to configure security settings.

    Only after this does the installer start downloading the items I have chosen. Depending on the number of items this might take a few moments to complete.


    That’s it, all the chosen items have been installed.

    Re-running the installer

    Running the installer again is very easy, just launch the Web Platform Installer from the Start menu. At this stage the installer will connect and download information on any new items added or updated in the installer.

    Uninstalling chosen items

    One thing I noticed was that when re-running the Web PI I had no choice to unselect already installed items. At this stage the Web PI does not support this feature (at least that what seemed the obvious to me). The best solution now is to go through Control Panel > Uninstall a program. All the individual programs installed through the Web PI can be found there and uninstalled separately if needed.

    So now I’m all set to start my development and testing on the newly installed machine. All without having to go through several downloads of framework, tools, IIS extensions, and so forth.

    I’ll be blogging about the Gallery at a later stage as well, including the support for PHP applications delivered with the gallery.

    And now to end this post you might want to sit back and watch this funny video: Cannon P.I., and see which Microsoft execs you might recognize ;-)

  • Katrien's MSDN Blog

    Windows 7 RC and support for VHD (including booting from VHD)


    I’m loving the new Windows version, I’ve been using it on my work and my demo computers since the release of the Beta version in January. I’m not going back!
    Now with the release of Windows 7 RC we are coming closer to a scheduled release by holiday season 2009 (as announced during TechEd US keynote).

    Expiration of Beta and RC versions
    If you are using the beta version yourself it’s recommended to upgrade (actually do a clean install) for RC. The beta version will be expiring in July 2009.
    Windows 7 RC install will expire in February 2010.

    Note that the RC version is available for download until the end of June 2009, from the MSDN site.

    VHD support

    One of the interesting features in Windows 7 is support for VHD. There’s support in two ways: first is being able to create and mount a VHD file as a disk in the OS.

    This is done through the Disk management settings under Computer Management.

    The second feature is booting from a VHD file. As my colleague Arlindo explained to me, this is not running on vritualization technology. It’s done through the boot loader which will unpack the VHD and then boot from there. So it’s not the same as running your VHD with Virtual PC.

    Creating a bootable VHD

    To create my bootable VHD I used a few sites with to gather the information and guide me through the process. These were:

    Because an existing VPC is not supported to be used as a bootable VHD, you are obliged to follow one or other procedure in order to get a new Windows 7 installed on the VHD. Basic steps are, as I followed from Cesar’s post:

    1. After the base Windows 7 OS is installed, restart the computer and run from Windows 7 DVD. Note: it
    2. Choose Windows Repair (or press Shift+F10 to load the command line at the first install screen)
    3. Start the Command prompt.
    4. Type Diskpart
    5. Diskpart utility will load. Type create vdisk file=c:\Windows7Build7000.vhd maximum=40000 (where “c:\Windows7Build7000.vhd” can of course be another location and name). The 40000 refers to the disk size. Adapt as required.
    6. Enter the command to select the newly created disk: select vdisk file=c:\Windows7Build7000.vhd
    7. Type: attach vdisk
    8. Type: exit (you exit Windows Repair, but Do Not Reboot), or close the command line
    9. Click “Install now” back in the installation wizard.
    10. Accept license and then make sure you choose “Custom (advanced")” in the installation type screen.
    11. Choose the newly created disk as a destination (by checking the size of your newly created VHD you should be able to recognize which one it is.
    12. If you get a warning saying that your computer hardware might not support this drive just ignore it.
    13. Continue installation wizard, Windows 7 gets installed and will reboot the system a few times. That’s it.

    After following this procedure I ended up with two Windows 7 entries in my boot sequence so this is something that needs to be addressed. I found out the last install (on VHD) is put at the top.


    The only change needed here is adapting the entries in the boot loader so that I know exactly which one is which. To do this we can use the bcdedit.exe command line tool.

    The bcdedit tool is pretty straightforward (see TechNet document on command line options). What I need to do is rename the VHD Windows 7 entry to something that is more logic, and secondly I would like my base OS to appear as the first in the dual boot option. To do this I opened up command line in admin prompt, and used these commands.

    bcdedit /v
    This command will list the boot loader entries. Copy the GUID for the VHD entry onto clipboard.

    bcdedit /set {GUID} description “Windows 7 – VHD”
    Setting the entry description, you can of couse choose whatever description fits you.

    bcdedit /displayorder {guid} /addlast
    Here we set the display order of the VHD entry to be displayed last. Since the entry already exists it’s simply moved to the end of the list.

    Now since I also want to make sure the first entry gets selected by default when booting, I copy the base OS GUID to clipboard and then use the /default option:

    bcdedit /default {GUID}

    With that I’m all set: my main install I’m using for my main (released) version demos and keeping the VHD for trying out all beta versions of technologies. And my boot entries show as I have set:

    Sleep mode also continues to work perfectly, indifferent from the fact that it’s been booted on the VHD or the base OS.

    To finish off, another interesting advantage of having a bootable disk on a VHD: you can use BitLocker to encrypt the whole disk where the VHD sits: if by any your laptop gets lost or stolen there’s no way to get the VHD’s content.

  • Katrien's MSDN Blog

    Glimmer: a helpful visual tool for generating jQuery scripts


    The Mix Online Labs team has made available for download the prototype of Glimmer, a visual design surface that allows you to easily build jQuery scripts. If you are a designer or web developer this tool will allow you to very quickly use jQuery scripts to add animation and effects to your site.

    After installing Glimmer, you are presented with the home screen from which you can either decide to start using existing wizards like Image Sequencer or Dropdown menu wizard; or open your own HTML and CSS files and create custom scripts.


    Download the tool and learn more from the VisitMix website:

    Interesting to note that the tool has been developed in WPF, and if you feel like checking it out the full source code is available on the MSDN Code Gallery.

    Learn more through these videos:

  • Katrien's MSDN Blog

    Multi-mania 09 and a Meet & Greet with Laurent Bugnion


    Multi-mania is a great multimedia event taking place on 18th and 19th May in XPO Kortrijk. It’s organized by the PIH school and welcomes some great speakers and a lot of visitors every year. Lots of sessions around motion graphics, RIA technologies, media, gaming, etc.
    This year there’s also a special event around gaming and entrepreneurship: the Microsoft Enterpreneurship Forum.

    Silverlight 3 and Expression Blend 3 sessions

    For Multi-mania we have asked Laurent Bugnion, MVP Silverlight, book author and all-round WPF and Silverlight master, to come back to Belgium and do one session. Luckily for us Laurent didn’t hesitate and agreed to come by. After a visit in March for TechDays, he’s back to do a session on Expression Blend 3 and SketchFlow. I tell you, if you to do any prototyping SketchFlow is a must see session!

    And let’s not forget, there is also a session by our own Belgian Gill Cleeren on Silverlight 3. Silverlight 3 Beta came out in March during MIX09. You’ll see what is new with this version including pixel shaders, perspective 3D, out of browser support, media improvements and more.

    Meet & Greet, together with the Belgian Silverlight User Group

    { THE DOCTOR IS HERE, TELL ME WHERE IT HURTS... } - under this motto the BESUG is organizing a get together with Laurent Bugnion. Got any questions, issues with Silverlight 2 and 3 or Expression Blend? This is the perfect time to join the group and get your answers.

    You can Laurent and the BESUG in Kortrijk on the 18th of May at 18h30. Get-together takes place at the PIH school, registration and location info on the MS Community site.

  • Katrien's MSDN Blog

    Community Day 09 coming on 25th June


    Belgian user groups are doing it again: for the 3rd year they are organizing the Community Day. This year the event takes place on the 25th of June, in Utopolis Mechelen. The choice for a new venue was needed since last year’s location just became too small. Talking about a successful event!


    The Belgin user groups behind the event are BESUG, BIWUG, IT-Talks, MVUG, Pro-Exchange, SCUG, SQLUG, VBIB, Visug, WinSec and XNA-BUG.

    Checkout the agenda with developer sessions such as Silverlight 3, XNA 3.1, jQuery, Composite Application Guidance (aka Prism), SharePoint, and the more IT-pro oriented sessinos on OCS, Exchange 2010 and more. I’m even doing a session myself on Windows 7 for managed code developers.

    Hope to see you there in big numbers. Well, as big the the venue allows that is :)

    Register in time!

  • Katrien's MSDN Blog

    ALM Roadshow: Team Foundation Server and Visual Studio Team System


    In the week of 11th of May 2009, MSDN is organizing a roadshow around Application Lifecycle Management, focusing on the use of Visual Studio Team System and Team Foundation Server tools.
    In the current economic climate, IT companies are often forced to deliver more in less time and with smaller budgets. To help you make your application development lifecycle more efficient, consistent and with a better time-to-market tools like Team Foundation Server come to the rescue. Join this roadshow to learn how exactly TFS can assist your team. Read all the details in Dutch or French on the event website. This is a free event.

    There are five events planned during the week, giving the choice of language and location:

    All events take place in the afternoon, from 14h00 to 17h30.


    For the events in Dutch we have Pieter Gheysens, MVP for VSTS speaking. Check out his blog

    French events are presented by Vincent Fievez, Microsoft-platform specialist for over 15 years and currently working for ICT7, a company that he helped found.

  • Katrien's MSDN Blog

    User Experience at VITRA – join us at 4 different locations


    imageAre you a web developer, web designer/integrator, project manager, account manager or own a web agency? Well, we have an event for you.
    In June, in four different locations you’ll get served a ‘cocktail’ of a unique location, a nice atmosphere, cool demo’s, loads of useful information, food and drinks for people involved into web design and development.

    The unique locations are the Vitra showrooms. If you don’t know Vitra, check out their site and get an idea on the type of furniture they offer.

    Several people from Microsoft will be there to meet you, show you demos around the MS web and UX technologies, talk to you and answer your questions.

    It’s also a great chance to mingle amongst your peers in an informal atmosphere and do some networking.

    The dates and places are the following:

    • 2nd of June – Vitra Antwerp
    • 4th of June – Vitra Diegem (close to Brussels)
    • 10th of June – Vitra Gent
    • 11th of June – Vitra Liège

    Check out the site for a few more details (it’s worth it), and register in Dutch or French:

    image        image

    If you are a Twitter user, we are using the tag #uxv.

    See you there!

  • Katrien's MSDN Blog

    PHP on Windows Training Kit available (April 2009 update)


    As you might know running PHP applications on Windows Server 2008 (and Vista SP1) and Internet Information Services 7 (IIS7) is supported through the FastCGI module. If you need to learn more there is good news: a full training kit has been released. Besides addressing configuration of PHP on IIS 7 it also contains demos and labs on how to take advantage of SQL Server from PHP applications.


    PHP & SQL Server Demos

    • Integrating SQL Server Geo-Spatial with PHP
    • SQL Server Reporting Services and PHP
    PHP & SQL Server Hands On Labs
    • Introduction to Using SQL Server with PHP
    • Using Full Text Search over Office Documents in PHP
    PHP on Windows Hands On Labs
    • IIS Access Control Features for PHP
    • Using IIS 7.0 Media Features in a PHP Application
    • Troubleshooting PHP
    • Migrating PHP Applications to IIS 7.0

    Download “PHP on Windows Training Kit (April 2009 update)”

  • Katrien's MSDN Blog

    Express Yourself newsletter: issue 5 is available


    Express Yourself is a Belgian newsletter focusing on web development and web design topics. Issue 5 has been sent to subscribers, focusing on the latest around the MIX09 announcements. Here’s an extract.

    Local events, don’t miss these:

    • UX@Vitra, 4 dates in June 2009 – register and come find us in June
    • Multi-mania, May 18th-19th 2009, including some sessions on Silverlight and the new SketchFlow feature in Expression Blend 3.

    Subscribe and receive the newsletter into your inbox.

    Express Yourself newsletter

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May, 2009