May 8th Update: The final release of the VS 2005 Web Application Project is now live. You can learn more about it here
I wrote last week about a new web project model option we are going to make available for VS 2005 (you can read the original post here). We are calling this option the “ASP.NET Web Application” project model (VS 2005 also has the “ASP.NET Web Site” project model built-in as well).
This new “ASP.NET Web Application” project model option provides the same conceptual web project semantics as VS 2003 web projects (a project file based structure where all code in the project is compiled into a single assembly), but with all the new features of VS 2005 (refactoring, class diagrams, test development, generics, etc) and ASP.NET 2.0 (master pages, data controls, membership/login, role management, Web Parts, personalization, site navigation, themes, etc, etc). This new “ASP.NET Web Application” project model also eliminates need (with VS 2003) to always use FrontPage Server Extensions and have a local copy of IIS to-do development on a local box (it now supports both the built-in Cassini web-server as well as IIS).
When building new web projects, developers will be able to choose whichever web project model (Web Site Projects or Web Application Projects) works best for their workflow and scenarios. Some developers love the new dynamic web project model, some hate it and want the old approach back – the good news is that you now get a choice to pick whichever works best for you, your style of development, and your existing code-base (note: yes, we made a mistake in not providing this choice in the first place). This new project model option will also make it much easier to migrate large/complex existing applications to VS 2005 without requiring significant effort (since it has the same code semantics as VS 2003 today).
About Today’s Preview Release
We are making a preview release of the VS 2005 Web Application Project support available today for anyone to download. The download itself is .5Mb in size and does not change or modify any existing VS 2005 binaries (instead it is built using the public extensibility APIs).
This preview is not a feature-complete version of the functionality. There are several important features that are not yet implemented, as well as a set of bugs that are currently active (note: these are documented in the known issues link on the site I’ll reference below).
Our goal with putting this first release out is to get early feedback from the community, as well as to provide a core feature-set that enables some developers to start using this project model option immediately (with workarounds for the missing functionality which will come online in later refreshes).
We are then going to release refreshes of the preview download early next year as we complete the feature-set.
I’ve put up a simple web-site that provides more information about the new project model option, as well as links on how to download and install. The link to this site and download information is here: http://webproject.scottgu.com
To learn more about how the new project model option works, you can walk-through the tutorials I’ve built on the site (these include step-by-step screen-shots that you can use to follow along with the preview build). Here is a pointer to the C# tutorials which are live now. I’ll be posting the VB tutorials a little later this weekend. I’ll also be building a migration tutorial with steps on how to update VS 2003 web projects to use this new project model in VS 2005 in the next few days.
Update: Both the C# and VB Tutorials are live now. As are the migration tutorials.
Hope this helps,