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Introduction to Web Platform Installer (WebPI)

By Satheesh Babu
Posted On Mar 23, 2011
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Introduction to Web Platform Installer (WebPI)

We always invest some considerable amount of time in preparing our development environment. Also, this is one of the repetitive tasks if there are some new developers joining the team. In addition to this, these days there are large number of new software getting released everyday apart from number of new software updates for the existing software. Also, most of the times, these installations have large number of dependencies which needs to be installed as pre-requisites before installing the actual package. Considering these things, there are some complexities involved in managing these activities. For example, finding if the component is already installed, downloading, finding and installing the dependencies, installing the actual component and configuring it. It will be great and useful if this process is automated. This is what Web Platform installer (shortly called as WebPI) does.

Another good thing about WebPI is, it also supports command line installation of the products in dev environments.

Let’s see more about this tool in next sections.


What is Web Platform Installer (WebPI)?

It is a free tool offered by Microsoft that automates the process of preparing the web development environment. It can be thought as some sort of download manager but WebPI as such is functionally more than that. Apart from downloading the packages, it even takes care of installing it with their dependencies and also configuring it. It also enables us to install some of the open source and free products like PHP, My SQL and other applications like wordpress, joomla, BlogEngine.Net, etc apart from the products of Microsoft web stack.


How it works?

The Web platform Installer will initially check your computer to get the status of installed products and will provide us the option to install the products that are not installed. It also allows us to select multiple products at a time and install it in a shot.


How to Install WebPI?

The WebPI can be downloaded and installed from the below location.

http://www.microsoft.com/web/downloads/platform.aspx

The latest version as of this writing is 3.0. After installation, you can launch WebPI from Start menu. The WebPI will gather information about the installed products on your system and will load the UI with options to add new packages. Refer below,

What is Web platform Installer(WebPI)?How to use it?


The above figure says Visual Web Developer Express 2010 SP 1 and Visual Studio 2010 SP1 are already installed on my machine. Currently, the above screen shows the Spotlight tab, you can navigate to Products and Applications tab to see products installed/to install. For example, to install wordpress, go to Applications tab and click Add. Refer below,

What is Web platform Installer(WebPI)?How to use it?


This will change the Add button to Remove and enable Install button at bottom of the screen. Once you click install, you will be presented with EULA screen (End User Agreement screen), click I Agree. That’s it! This will make the WebPI to download and Install wordpress on your system.

In next section, we will see how to use the command line WebPI application to find and install the components.


Using WebPI in Command Prompt

WebPI provides an option where we can find the products and install it through the command prompt. You can.

Steps

1.      Download the WebPI command line application from here.

2.      Unzip the downloaded application to a folder.

3.      Open the command prompt as Admin. Type cmd in Start>Run. In Vista and Windows 7, Start > type cmd in search box. Now right click the command prompt > Click Run as administrator. Refer the below figure.

What is Web platform Installer(WebPI)?How to use it?


4.      Navigate to the folder where you have unzipped the content of the WebPI command line application.



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To Get available Products

WebpiCmdline.exe /List:Available

What is Web platform Installer(WebPI)?How to use it?


To Install a Package

WebpiCmdline.exe /Products:ProductID1,ProductID2

EX:

WebpiCmdline.exe /Products:SQLCE


To install Applications

WebpiCmdline.exe /Applications:ApplicationID1, ApplicationID2

EX:

WebpiCmdline.exe /Applications:DotNetNuke,DasBlog

Please note that you can use the command “WebpiCmdline.exe /List:Available” to get the available products id and applications id.

Thanks to Satish for this information. You can read more about this command line application on his blog.

 

Downloads

WebPI

WebPI Command Line Application

 

Conclusion

WebPI is a one of the needed and very useful addition to our existing software stack. Clearly, WebPI tool will reduce the developer time in managing their development environment to have the latest products installed.

Thanks to WebPI team for providing a much needed tool.

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