The Story behind Web Application Installer


Bernhard Frank just launched our little shared / open source project ( I think I am not enough of a lawyer to distinguish what is what and to be honest in this case I don't care, too ;-)

It is a part of a project which Bernhard did it together with Mario Briana and an intern Sebastian Glöckner. Credits to the guys, Bernhard for his project management, Mario for the help and coding and Sebastian for being more than an intern.

So what is the story behind:

We discovered that Windows Server as a hosting OS has a hard stand. Too much of  a hard stand that it deserve it. But what is the reason behind?

We did some research (I mean a lot of research) and discovered that installing a Windows machine is unnecessary hard to do and time consuming. The reason behind is that if you order a dedicated Windows server you get less than the Vanilla install of the OS. Most of the time no IIS or ASP.NET, nothing. So it will take you quite some time of installation work until the machine is up and running.

So why not using what is already there. We decided to do our own little project on this. And WAI is the first part to see the light of day. We made it an open project and placed it here

Idea here is to have the tools and the How-To to build a package of your web application which can be installed on the target machine within seconds. The package then does all necessary things up front. A list:

- Creating a new website
- Adding a virtual directory to an existing website
- Creating an application pool and setting up a website/folder as ASP.NET 2 application
- Creating a new Microsoft SQL Database, Logins and Users
- Configuring your web application (e.g. web.config) and setting values collected in wizard mode
- A lot of user guidance, messages and validations

The best of it all is: It takes only about 30 minutes to build a generic installer package like those which can then be used on any server. This is the first step for an easy installation of Windows servers...

Check it out, we are a bit proud of it ;-)

As mentioned this is step 1 and we have another step in the secret manufacturing facility down in Unterschleißheim (some would call it Monster Garage ;-)...