Microsofties are often described as “work hard, play hard” types, and that can be no truer than when applied to the IIS team. Over the last few weeks, we have been out in force to deliver the good word about IIS 7.0 and IIS Extensions at conferences and gatherings around the globe, including TechEd Hong Kong, PDC in Los Angeles, TechEd EMEA in Barcelona, and even Digital Hollywood. But even with such a hectic travel schedule, our development team still has been cranking out new Extension updates, with three more in the last few days alone.
First and foremost, we’re proud to announce the RTW of URL Rewriter. It is less than two months since we made the Release Candidate available, and in that time we have received a great deal of enthusiastic customer responses to this module. URL Rewriter allows you to create simple but powerful rules to implement URLs that are easier for users to remember and easier for search engines to find, while also enabling canonicalization of host names (pretty sure that’s the longest word I’ve ever put in a blog posting), pretty permalinking (okay, so that’s a made-up word), and ASP.NET request routing. It can even help keep your site more secure and responsive by preventing deep linking and unwanted crawlers. It integrates seamlessly into IIS Manager with a simple-to-use administration interface, it supports user mode and kernel mode caching, and you can even use Failed Request Tracing to troubleshoot how rules are applied. Oh, and if you previously had mod_rewrite rules in Apache, you can import them. The bottom line is if you are running a Web site on IIS 7.0, you should be using URL Rewriter – there is almost no scenario I can think of where it cannot add value.
Second on the list is actually a collection of two updated Extensions – Bit Rate Throttling and Web Playlists – now combined as the IIS Media Pack 1.0. We had previously released Bit Rate Throttling earlier this year, and we had recently announced a Release Candidate of Web Playlists, but like two peas in a, ahem, Zune, we knew they belonged together once they had both hit their final milestone. Used in conjunction, the IIS Media Pack 1.0 Extensions allow you to dynamically allocate bandwidth based on consumption rather than availability, while also enforcing content playback rules. This means you can save money by not having consumers max out your bandwidth downloading every new media clip (heck, not just media – use it with any type of file), and you can make money by including advertisements in your playback stream that cannot be skipped or bypassed. Hmmm… save money *and* make money... I dunno…
Third out the gate for this week (although it actually released about two weeks ago) is Beta 2 of our Web Deployment Tool (sometimes known as “MSDeploy”). We’ve made some fairly significant changes in this release, so we’re not considering this milestone production quality (“No Go Live”). In fact, Beta 2 includes new features for both server administrators and developers. In addition to the existing functionality from Beta 1, which offered robust server synchronization and migration, we’ve also added Web application packaging and deployment that integrates with IIS Manager and – get this - the upcoming Visual Studio 2010. So you’ll be able to do one-click packaging and publishing of your application from Visual Studio 2010 to IIS 7.0, and you’ll be able to import a previously packaged application through IIS Manager, complete with components, certificates and even data.
And we’re not done yet for this month either. We’ll have at least two more updates to share with you in the next couple of weeks, so that those of you who celebrate Thanksgiving will have plenty to give thanks for, and those of you who don’t will just be grateful and excited without the need to take a couple of days off work and overdo the turkey and pumpkin pie.
About the only complaint we ever get regarding IIS Extensions is that it’s not always easy to find them or learn about what they do, so the team decided to fix that during a long lunch break. As of today, you can now visit the new IIS Extensions center on our IIS.net portal and read in depth about each one, together in one place. And yes, those URLs were all brought to you by URL Rewriter :-).