In earlier blog posts I have mentioned that I written the several walkthroughs to help developers get started writing providers for the FTP 7.5 service, all of which available on Microsoft's learn.iis.net Web site under the "Developing for FTP 7.5" section. In each of these walkthroughs I wrote the steps as if you were using Visual Studio 2008.

Following up on that, I received a great question yesterday from a customer, Paul Dowdle, who wondered if it was possible to write an extensibility provider for the FTP 7.5 service using one of the Visual Studio Express Editions. By way of coincidence, I used to install Visual C# Express Edition on my laptop when I was traveling around the world to speak at events like TechEd. I usually did this because the Express Edition took up less hard drive space than a full installation of Visual Studio, and I was only writing code in C# on my laptop.

To answer Paul's question, the short answer is - yes, you can use Visual Studio Express Editions to develop custom providers for the FTP 7.5 service, with perhaps a few small changes from my walkthroughs.

For example, if you look at my "How to Use Managed Code (C#) to Create a Simple FTP Authentication Provider" walkthrough, in the section that is titled "Step 1: Set up the Project Environment", there is an optional step 6 for adding a custom build event to register the DLL automatically in the Global Assembly Cache (GAC) on your development computer.

When I installed Microsoft Visual C# 2008 Express Edition on a new computer, I didn't have the "%VS90COMNTOOLS%" environment variable or the "vsvars32.bat" file, so I had to update the custom build event to the following:

net stop ftpsvc
"%ProgramFiles%\Microsoft SDKs\Windows\v6.0A\bin\gacutil.exe" /if "$(TargetPath)"
net start ftpsvc

Once I made that change, the rest of the walkthrough worked as written.

So, to reiterate my earlier statement - you can use Visual Studio Express Editions to develop custom providers for the FTP 7.5 service. My thanks to Paul for the great question!