IIS team lets slip of plans to release IIS Express


So today something happened that excited me somewhat. Microsoft’s Scott Guthrie set the twittersphere on fire with his blog post about the upcoming IIS Express release – a feature complete version of IIS that is portable and can be launched by right clicking a folder in explorer – GENIUS!

image Over the years being a Microsoft developer has been a bumpy up and down ride, with the linux and mac camps getting in some good brownie points when it comes to offering a great user experience, engaging their users and developers alike.

Fast-forward to today and you’ll be probably sharing my positive view of the company that put retail computing on the map. Microsoft has had more and more great news for it’s users and has been heading in such a great direction, driven by releases such as Windows 7,Windows phone 7 and Xbox Kinect (Natal).

The fact that they are answering their developers and bridging the gap to allow developers to have an instant setup IIS installation is cause for excitement indeed. Most developers i know that have hit a wall working with the built in Visual Studio web server and its limitations have had to use an alternative such as Cassini. However as this is now a Microsoft product, some people have experienced that their mileage may vary.IIS Express will hopefully fix this, while allowing a lot of great added functionality

“…Launching a webserver by right clicking on a folder – that’s GENUIS!…”

Summary of IIS Express release

You can read the full post by Scott Guthrie here.

  1. IIS Express is going to be lightweight and less than a 10mb install. What the licensing is on this is yet to be seen, but at that size, it might be possible to deploy IIS with your application by including IIS in your installation.
  2. It will support all ASP.Net web applications, but what i thought was a really cool usage was: ASP support. So you can test an ASP site, without messing with your current IIS settings!
  3. IIS Express will not require administrator access to run – this applies to debugging applications with Visual Studio as well. This is great for development houses that don’t allow their users to run as local admin.
  4. It will include support for every functionality that IIS supports, allowing IIS Express to support SSL connections, Media serving and IIS custom modules. The SSL support installs a self-signed certificate automatically, so everything works with minimum fuss to get up and testing.
  5. IIS Express will allow easy integration with Visual Studio 2010, so you can use it instead of the development server. This is great as it overcomes all the shortcomings of the development server (only allow access from localhost anyone??)
  6. Web.config and and module support that is offered by a full IIS installation will also be supported in IIS Express
  7. It will support running side by side with a full installation of IIS, allowing client applications and developer sessions to not affect any running sites or application pools.
  8. It requires a minimum of windows XP – THIS IS HUGE! and may have killed Cassini dead in the water once it is released.
  9. It will allow you to launch a website from within windows explorer by simply right clicking on a folder and starting a web presence from there. This will make previewing HTML sites etc from your local machine while working with old work or work from a HTML gunslinger, oh so easy – WIN!

Sample usage scenarios

Some of the game changing things that i see this making possible in new and easy ways are fantastic, and although some people won’t jump up and down as they do most of them with Cassini i still believe this is a great thing:

  • Checking sites across multiple browsers, run from within virtual machines (think: Microsoft’s App Compat VHDs!)
  • Quickly demoing a site that has been emailed to you
    • Extract zip file
    • Right click on extracted folder
    • view site!
  • Running interactive web applications on a local machine that require HTTP modules etc
  • Quickly working on an ASP classic site without having to mess with your current working IIS settings. I HATE having to do this to a good IIS install just to quickly test something


In true spoilt brat fashion, all i have to say is:

I can’t wait – give it to me now…