Good vibes for Microsoft 'point-and-click cloud computing'

Microsoft's free Web Platform Installer generating genuine interest and kudos

People who write code for a living have a love/hate relationship with Microsoft. Over the years the press has played up the hate (and the hype), but today I thought I would turn to one Microsoft software project which is generating genuine interest and kudos from some developers.

The product is Microsoft's free Web Platform Installer, now on version 2.0, which lets developers quickly install Microsoft's Internet Information Services and a boatload of free Web applications on top of IIS, including WordPress, Moodle, SugarCRM, and Acquia for Drupal. The fact that this Microsoft product is playing nice with open source software is remarkable in itself, but what has gotten developers particularly interested is the cloud potential. Blogger and developer Jorge Escobar yesterday said:

"I was blown away with the concept behind this application. Basically Windows has introduced point-and-click cloud computing for the masses and it's doing it in a way that resembles the iPhone application directory but for web applications.

I hate to say it but it's brilliant."

Not everyone who has seen the Web Platform Installer is so impressed, however. Last week, developer, author and podcaster Kevin Yank acknowledged that Web PI makes it "easy to set up IIS as a development environment for PHP which has been really painful in the past," but said he believed it is not getting much traction in the marketplace, where WAMP or LAMP installations are often preferred. He also said open-source developers are suspicious of anything Microsoft does, which would slow adoption.

But it's the cloud connection and the potential hooks to Azure -- Microsoft's soon-to-be-launched cloud computing platform -- that also come into play. More than a few developers commenting on a Hacker News thread that they were looking forward to Web PI applications being tied into Azure instances, even though someone identifying himself as working on the Azure platform made pains to note that the two products are "really quite distinct".

Nevertheless, the idea that Microsoft is simplifying and opening up its cloud-related offerings, and removing development obstacles and other potential barriers to entry (such as billing-related headaches) is enough to draw a lot of interest and maybe even turn the page on some of the bad feelings resulting from its bruising battles with the open-source community. In the months to come, the big question on many people's minds will be how Azure measures up in production environments, and how it works with both Microsoft and non-Microsoft applications.

Sources and research:, SitePoint podcast #36,,,,,

Ian's bio and disclosures are located here. Follow Ian on Twitter at Industry Standard updates and asides are available at and in our newsletters. You can also join our Industry Standard Facebook page and LinkedIn group.

Join the newsletter!


Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags CloudMicrosoft

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Ian Lamont

The Industry Standard
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill


I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?