Building a web application from scratch can seem like a daunting task.  You may have a good idea of what you would like your website to do, but deciding on the best technology to build your application, finding reusable code samples, and designing your site’s navigation and appearance can take a lot of time and energy. 

The Windows Web App Gallery is designed to help you get up and running with a customizable web application quickly so you can focus on building the code only you can write.

The Web App Gallery is a collection of the most popular web applications, such as DotNetNuke, Umbraco, ResourceBlender.NET, and mojoPortal, all free and ready for download and installation using the Web Platform Installer.  Web App Gallery contains both ASP.NET and PHP apps, and the platform for the application you choose is automatically installed with your application.  Most of Web App Gallery’s applications are open source as well.  Web App Gallery has had more than 500,000 downloads in the four months since it debuted.

Let’s take a look at how the Web App Gallery works.  To get started, we’ll take a look at the Web App Gallery.

 App Gallery

You can search for applications based on their popularity, user ratings, or by categories such as Content Management, Blogs, or eCommerce.  If you’re building a website for a business or club, for instance, you may want a Content Management application such as Umbraco.

When you click the “Install” button next to your app of choice, Web Platform Installer (Web PI) is launched.  Web PI is a tool that enables you to easily install both the Microsoft Web Platform as well as any of the web applications in the gallery and any additional dependencies your chosen web application requires.  From the Web App Gallery, the first screen shown during the Umbraco install is a details page giving further information about Umbraco.

 WebPI

At this point, you can click on any of the tabs on the left side to install more products from the Microsoft Web Platform, or you can immediately begin my installation of Umbraco.  If you need only Umbraco, choose “Install”.

 

You’ll be immediately shown the license terms for the products you’re installing as well as the other products you’ll be installing.  Web PI includes all the products you need to get your application running.  This may mean configuring the right IIS components, downloading ASP.NET, and installing SQL Server Express.  You don’t need to worry about anything other than the application you want to install.  Once you choose “I Accept”, Umbraco and all the other dependencies will be downloaded and installed for you.

Once this is complete, fill out the site you want to install Umbraco to as well as some basic information required by Umbraco.

 Site Information

You’re now done and ready to begin using your Web application. 

Launch Umbraco using the link on the installation screen, go through a few configuration steps, and you’re ready to start setting up your new web application.

 Umbraco Settings

Once you’ve spent some time with your web application, you can rate and review it on Web App Gallery, or you can submit your own web application to the Web App Gallery as long as it follows the Web Application Gallery Principles.  The Web Application Gallery is always adding more applications so check back regularly.

Namaste!