SitePoint Sponsor

User Tag List

Results 1 to 4 of 4
  1. #1
    SitePoint Evangelist ashattuc's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Boise, Idaho
    Posts
    411
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Build your own Windows Testing Server - A Tutorial

    Dear all,

    I want to explain just what I did to set up a asp/aspx testing and learning environment on my Windows 2000 Professional machine. For PHP,MySQL and Apache, there is a great tool called PHPDev which installs all of your necessary componants in one easy step, but for ASP there doesn't seem to be the same kind of tool, namely because Microsoft is the only company that can distribute the source code as is.

    The things I found the most interesting is that against all of my previous assumptions, you can build a MS testing environment for free. To get the big daddys like Visual Studio and a real SQL server there is a (sometimes hefty) fee, but a lot of people work without these. I'll try to explain what I know about these tools, how much they cost, and why you would or wouldn't need them as well.

    There are a lot of people on these forums for which programming is second nature, as are the tools that are used to increase efficiency. But this post is mostly for the folks like me who are trying to get a grasp on some of the basics, and are about to go hodge-podging about, trying to get the complete picture.

    First of all, ASP / Microsoft is a big, important, (if sometimes refered to as evil) useful technology. The more programmers I talk to out there in the real world with real jobs, the more I realize that ASP.NET is the standard for building internet applications today.

    Why, do you ask? Well, I don't know if I can answer that yet. So far it looks like MS has built a programming framework (not just language, but a framework - an important distinction to make) that is robust and efficient for developers, more efficient than any other developing platform out there.

    Plus, just the fact that the big boys use this technology means that if you are going to take your job or business seriously, you need to know what's going on. I was doing some small-time work with some ASP pages a while back, and I didn't have a platform to test it on. When I forwarded the finished work, there were a couple of ebarrasingly blatant mistakes that sent me whimpering back to my office, wondering if I was ever going to be a REAL web developer. DON'T LET THIS HAPPEN TO YOU! You should have at least a basic grasp of the technology, enough to know what you don't know, and you should have a testing platform.

    To build a testing platform, the following is a list of items you need to get from MS, either on disk or downloaded. I'm sure there is a nominal fee for the disks, but if you download it's free, and I did it all on my super-speed 56K modem:


    1. IIS 5.0 - This is the server, like Apache. There is an alternative, watered down version called PWS (I think - please correct me if I am wrong), but that won't work for this setup. You need the real deal. You need IIS 5.0 or higher. This should be included in your Windows 2000 professional CD.
    2. Microsoft .Net 1.1 Redistributable - This is the .NET framework. I can't tell you exactly what the framework is, maybe someone can flesh it out in some supplimentary posts. The way I understand it, it is a program that integrates with the IIS server to provide a foundation for .NET programming envrionment. In other words, you need it to work with .NET stuff.
    3. MSDE Database - Microsoft Desktop Engine. This is a database system, much like MySQL. However, as you have probably heard before, MS SQL is a much more advanced, robust system. The MSDE is, according to MS, almost the same as MS SQL. It is free, and you can build it into your applications and redistribute it freely that way. However, on a sidenote, an alternative someone suggested is that you can purchase a "Developer's Edition" MS SQL, with graphical "client tools" and everything. The "client tools" are like the PHPMyAdmin of MS SQL, from what I gather. The Developer's Edition is only $50, and grants you a licence to use the complete MS SQL system in a development environment. I think this is a steal, and I will be purchasing one soon. It sure beats a standard license of $2000 or more!
    4. Microsoft .NET Framework SDK (Software Development Kit v. 1.1) - This is a large (100 megs!) suite of tutorials and sample applications. The file download is large, but they split it up into downloadable chunks for us web snails.It allows you to learn the .NET concepts in a practical way, looking at examples and the code behind it in three different languages. I didn't know about these languages until I started getting into the SDK, but they are C# (C Sharp), J# (Java Sharp), and VB (Visual Basic). You can use any of these languages, and others, to develop in the .NET framework. From what I understand, this is the really amazing part about .NET. C# is aledgedly the language of choice with .NET, although there are still quite a few people using the others.
    5. Microsoft Web Matrix (reloaded) - This is a groovy WYSIWYG / Development Environment that was developed by the MS community (slap me if I'm wrong) and is freely available on the MS site as well. From what I have read, this is a pretty comprehensive tool, except for one very small, but very important issue: it does not wrap lines. So, if you have any line longer than a hundred characters or so, you won't be able to look at the whole thing. I have my suspicions about such a conspicuous ommission, but I will keep them politely to myself.
    6. J# 1.1 .NET Framework Redistributable - This is not cricical if you are not going to be developing using J#, but to be complete, I need to add it in here. I don't have a deep knowledge about this componant, but it allows you to use the J# language in your applications.
    So once you get all this stuff, there are a couple things you need to do to set it up completely:

    1. First, install the .NET 1.1 Framework.
    2. Install the J# 1.1 .NET Framework.
    3. Install the MSDE database system.
    4. Next, you need to create an instance of the MSDE database. The way it looks, you can have two different tiers of databases. You have your tables in a database. Then you have a database of your databases. This is an instance. It took me a while to figure out that I needed to do this, and a little while longer to figure out how, so to hopefully make your life a little easier, what you do is go to the command prompt, get to the directory MSDE was installed in, and type something like this:

      C:\MSDERelA> setup.exe INSTANCENAME="NetSDK" SAPWD="yourpassword"

      You need to change the path to the directory and your password, but this instance should be named "NetSDK" to allow the database examples to install from the SDK.
    5. Install the MS .NET SDK. If you get some errors when you try to check out the examples, make sure the NetSDK instance of your MSDE is running by right-clicking on "My Computer" > Manage > Services and Applications > Services, and scrolling down to see if there is service called MSSQL$NETSDK started. If you don't see it, restart your computer and look again. If you do see it and it is disabled, enable it under the STATUS column.
    6. Install Web Matrix.
    From there, you should be good to go. (Cross your fingers!).

    Just to fulfill my promise, Visual Studio is, from what I gather, the standard development environment for .NET programming. But it is also pretty expensive (I think it was around $1500 or so). Web Matrix or even Dreamweaver are some good alternatives according to some folks.

    I hope this walk-through was helpful. Because I have such a limited understanding of the intricacies of the .NET framework and programming in general, I hope that others will come and help fill in where I've been a bit vague.

    Good luck! I hope this process goes a little smoother for you than it did for me. But then again, what doesn't kill you just makes you stronger, right? Or maybe it just gives you higher blood pressure.

    Sincerely,
    Chris
    Chris S.

    Free Web Scripts - Form generators, AJAX tools and more!
    Micro CMS - A totally free AJAX-based, SEO-ed CMS!

  2. #2
    SitePoint Author silver trophybronze trophy
    wwb_99's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Washington, DC
    Posts
    10,576
    Mentioned
    4 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    You can get VS.NET standard edition for $90. Those versions are limited to one language (C# or VB.NET) but worth it.

    Also note that one can download the eval version of SQL server and install the client tools only. They do not expire in 90 days. Then you have MSDE and the visual client tools.

    Other word of advice is to setup IIS before setting up .NET if possible so it automatically configures. You can do it manually afterwards (regiis -i, IIRC).

    Other thing to note is that IIS 5.0 is also avaliable for WinXP Pro (NOT Home).

    WWB

  3. #3
    SitePoint Evangelist ashattuc's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Boise, Idaho
    Posts
    411
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Thanks, WWB, for your additions.

    Good to know that you can get the VS.NET for a reasonable price.

    From what some other folks have said on the forums, (and tell me if I'm wrong), the client tools on the SQL Evaluation Edition do actually expire. I have heard at least once that it is a violation of the EULA to keep using the client tools after the expiration date. But maybe someone whose actually read the thing can let me know for sure. Not saying you haven't WWB, but when I was exploring threads there were a lot of people under the impression that it was okay, until someone pointed out the EULA.

    Thanks for the extra note on installing IIS first. Good call.

    Sincerely,
    Chris
    Chris S.

    Free Web Scripts - Form generators, AJAX tools and more!
    Micro CMS - A totally free AJAX-based, SEO-ed CMS!

  4. #4
    SitePoint Author silver trophybronze trophy
    wwb_99's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Washington, DC
    Posts
    10,576
    Mentioned
    4 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    EULAs are not quite my thing, so I am not sure if it is a gross violation. Pointing out what is possible really.

    WWB


Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •