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Using the Microsoft Web Platform to create web apps and websites

When it comes to a complete set of website development tools, nobody does it better that Microsoft. From web server (IIS), database server (SQL), framework (.NET) and development tools (Visual Studio), Microsoft has quite the offering. They even created an application to install it all, the Web Platform Installer (WebPI). And the best of all, they're free!

Spotlight view inside of the Microsoft Web Platform Installer v4
Spotlight view inside of the Microsoft Web Platform Installer v4

Using the WebPI application, you can download and install all of the programs you would need to create and publish a website. You can even download various web apps like Wordpress or DotNetNuke. The app categories range from blog and content management system (CMS) to e-commerce and galleries.

Appilcation view inside of the Microsoft Web Platform Installer v4
Appilcation view inside of the Microsoft Web Platform Installer v4

And with the release of Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012 on the horizon, Microsoft is starting to roll out new versions of quite a few of these programs. Here's a quote from Microsoft's site:

With the Microsoft Web Platform you get more than just a powerful set of tools, servers and technologies. You get a complete eco-system of products, technologies and partners all looking to help you succeed on the web.

Powerful Framework
ASP.NET Framework ASP.NET is a free, fully supported Web application framework that helps you build standards-based Web solutions by providing a rich set of features and easy integration with databases and web services.

Flexible Web Server
IIS Web Server Internet Information Services provides a secure, easy-to-manage Web platform for reliably hosting ASP.NET and PHP web applications on the same server.

Robust Database
SQL Server SQL Server® is a complete database engine for running high performance web applications. Easily create data-enabled web applications with SQL Server's support for LINQ, Entity Data Model, and ADO.NET.

Complete Tools
Microsoft Web Design and Development Tools Visual Studio®, Expression Web® and Windows Internet Explorer® with its built-in developer tools, provide a complete environment for building standards-based web sites, applications and services.

Here's a partial list of some of the recently updated applications:

  • Visual Studio Express 2012 for Web
  • Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Express
  • IIS 8.0 Express
  • .NET Framework 4.5

For more information on the Microsoft Web Platform, just follow the links below.

Microsoft Web Platform
Microsoft Web Platform Installer 4.0

Manage e-mail, sync files and more for free with Windows Live Essentials 2011

Are you looking for a program to manage your e-mail? Or maybe one to write a blog with? Want to remotely connect computers and sync files between them? How about creating a photo gallery or movie? You can do all of these and more for free with Windows Live Essentials 2011.

Windows Live Essentials installation options
Windows Live Essentials installation options

If you're familiar with Windows, some of these programs you will already know about. Photo Gallery, Movie Maker and Messenger, for example, have been around for a few years. Writer and Family Safety, on the other hand, are new. And Outlook Express users will be happy to learn that Windows Live Mail is an updated version of OE. You can import all of your settings from an existing version of Outlook Express into it.

Main screen in Windows Live Mesh
The main screen in Windows Live Mesh

With Windows Live Mesh, you can synchronize files, folders and program settings between different computers, PC or MAC. Or you can sync files to the cloud using SkyDrive. You can also use Live Mesh to connect remotely to another computer. There are so many programs / features included in Windows Live Essentials it's hard to list them all. Here's a quote from the Windows Live website:

Windows Live Essentials is a suite of products available in one easy download. Get them all at once, or choose just the ones you want.

Mail
Manage multiple email accounts, calendars, and your contacts, even when you're offline.

Family Safety
Help keep your kids safe online.

Mesh
Kiss your zip drive goodbye—keep your files and photos synced on your PCs. And connect remotely to all of your files and programs.

Writer
Create stunning blog posts in minutes, with photos, videos, maps, and more. Then publish them to any of your favorite blog service providers.

Messenger Companion
Bring your friends along when you browse the web. See and comment on links your friends have shared as you visit websites in Internet Explorer.

Outlook Connector Pack
Manage Hotmail from within Outlook.

Bing Bar
Get search results from Bing without leaving the site you're on.

Silverlight
See rich, interactive websites with this browser plug-in.

Windows Live Essentials is available for 32-bit or 64-bit versions of Windows 7, Windows Vista with Service Pack 2, Windows Server 2008 R2 or Windows Server 2008 with Service Pack 2. For more information on Windows Live Essentials, just follow the links below:

Windows Live Essentials
Windows Live Essentials Overview

Creating web apps and websites for free with Microsoft Web Platform

Have you ever wondered how to create a blog, content management system (CMS) or e-commerce website? You can do just that and more with Microsoft Web Platform. You can create your own web app using WordPress (blog), DotNetNuke (CMS) or nopCommerce (e-commerce), just to name a few. And, best of all, it's all free.

Microsoft Web Platform Installer 3 - Spotlight View
Microsoft Web Platform Installer 3 - Spotlight View

From web server (Internet Information Services), database server (SQL Server 2010 Express), programming tools like (Visual Web Developer 2010 Express) and lots of apps to work with, Microsoft Web Platform has it all. And did I mention that they are all free.

Microsoft Web Platform Installer 3 - Products View
Microsoft Web Platform Installer 3 - Products View

You can use Visual Web Developer 2010 Express to customize any of the free ASP.NET and PHP web apps available in the Windows Web App Gallery. And if your app needs a database, you can install SQL Server 2010 Express. There are also tools for Silverlight and Windows Azure too.

Microsoft Web Platform Installer 3 - Applications View
Microsoft Web Platform Installer 3 - Applications View

All of the programs included in the Microsoft Web Platform are installed on your local system. You build and test your web app on the Internet Information Services (IIS) installed on your local system and then upload it to your remote IIS server when you're finished. If you don't know the platform of your web server, you will need to contact your hosting company to find out. The IIS is more commonly referred to as the Windows platform.

Here's a quote about the Microsoft Web Platform Installer and some of the programs available from the Microsoft site:

The Microsoft Web Platform Installer 3.0 (Web PI) is a free tool that makes getting the latest components of the Microsoft Web Platform, including Internet Information Services (IIS), SQL Server Express, .NET Framework and Visual Web Developer easy. The Web PI also makes it easy to install and run the most popular free web applications for blogging, content management and more with the built-in Windows Web Application Gallery.

Web Server
Install the latest version of IIS, including latest IIS Web extensions like IIS Media Services.

Framework
Install the latest version of the .NET Framework. This includes everything you need to work with ASP.NET.

Database
Install the latest version of SQL Server 2008 Express. This includes both the database engine and tools.

Tools
Install the latest version of Visual Web Developer Express, Our full featured free web development tool.

Web Apps
Install free popular ASP.NET and PHP web apps such as Umbraco and WordPress. Browse the Windows Web Application Gallery

Extras
Web PI also includes the latest community version of PHP for Windows and a trial version of Expression Web 3!

For more information on the Microsoft Web Platform, check out the following links:

Microsoft Web Platform
Microsoft Web Platform Installer 5.0
Windows Web App Gallery

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Here at Geeks in Phoenix, we take pride in providing excellent customer service. From computer repair, virus removal and data recovery, we aim to give the highest quality of service.

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Geeks in Phoenix is an IT consulting company specializing in all aspects of Computer Repair / PC Repair / Laptop Repair. Since 2008, our expert computer repair technicians have been providing outstanding Computer Repair, Virus Removal, Data Recovery, Photo Manipulation and Website Support.

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