Daily Archives: December 14, 2004

Thoughts on IIS 7.0

Victor Garcia posts up about Microsofts plans to integrate ASP.NET into IIS in the Longhorn timeframe, although he didn’t specifically mention IIS 7.0. Like Victor, I am also an ASP.NET MVP so I do have some interest in how this turns out, but unfortunately I haven’t been able to communicate effectively with the team (my fault not theirs).

The move from IIS 5.0 to IIS 6.0 saw a few exciting changes in the process model for hosted applications. They managed to make the right trade-offs in the areas of security, performance and stability and ended up with what I consider to be one of the best web servers around – once you get it set up – more on this at the end.

I think there are really two ways we should be able to interact with IIS, currently there is only one – this is called the “host your app inside IIS” model. I would like to have a “host IIS in your app” model too! What I mean is that it would be nice to be able to deploy ASP.NET applications with the requisite IIS pipeline pieces without the system administrator having to do any more than give you a Windows box.

If I am building an enterprise application it is always a pain to have to deploy an ASP.NET application and some kind of Windows Service to perform robot functions (like notifications etc). Instead I would like to be able to drag a component (yes, I mean a component) onto the Windows Service design surface, tell it to point to a directory with my ASP.NET files and host the whole shebang inside the one process.

That means from a system administrators point of view, all they have to do is start or stop a service and the whole system is down or up. Thats neat. We are so close to this model already with the ability to spin out application pools, so the memory footprint wouldn’t be a problem – in fact it might be lighter since the Windows Service and the ASP.NET application would both share the same runtime overhead.

IIS should also support administration the way it does now, but the system administrator portion would really just be management tools to create dumb hosts for applications.

Now – back to set up. This has long been a gripe of mine with IIS, its a pain to set up an application, and it actually got a little worse with IIS 6.0 because you had to think about what rights you gave the worker process for the application pools. I would like this simplified even if it meant the Identity tab of the application pool properties actually went and created a user account for you with all the right group memberships and OS rights.

BETA software is about money.

Scoble asks what the work BETA, or more precisely BETA software means to you. He talked about stability and the out of the box experience. I’m down with that as a root cause of software coming out of the BETA stage. But what it really means is that I would probably be ready to part with money to use it.

So I think that BETA software is actually a useful tool for vendors who sell software for money. They want customers to try the software to see how it suites and drive it to a point of stability that they could charge them for it. This is good for the vendor and the customer.

On the other hand we have open source projects offering up free wares and online services like Google who label their stuff as BETA. In the case of open source software I think that they are trying to emulate the big vendors – releasing a BETA sounds important.

Online services like Google do it for a completely different reason (again – I think). Its makes marketing and PR sense. First off, using a BETA is hip and cool – for the end users – they are more likely to pipe up and say “look at the Google Suggest BETA”. The secondary benefit is that if something goes wrong they can always turn around and say ‘hey, its only a BETA, its not perfect”.

Foul Language: It is still language.

Xeni Jardin points to a piece (originally found by John Parres) where Wal-Mart is being sued by some customers for selling them some offensive music. Read the whole piece, because I am not going to talk about it here, I want to talk about foul language in general.

So the first point I want to make is “get over it”. The reality is that there will always be foul language, it exists to jar the audiences mind into taking notice, thats why you hear it so often in music. Now don’t get me wrong. I’d hate my daughter to use that kind of language every day, but, given the right circumstances I would hope that she is armed with the right language tools to make an impact.

I think that is why the bugger ad makes me laugh so much, it conveys the sentiment so well.

Microsoft’s Fingerprint Reader

John links to an absolutely brilliant prouct from Microsoft. The great thing is some of the products that are coming out next year. A fingerprint reader that is integrated into the mouse. This will probably take biometric technology mainstream.

My iPAQ has had a biometric login capability for years and its very convienient. What they will need to watch out for is that no input device (particularly a hybrid like a mouse) allows the finger print to be read whilst the hand is in the resting position, otherwise someone will figure out a way to rip the fingerprint from the device and re-use it in other places – although I am sure there are probably protections in the API to stop this.