Why try WebPI?

The Web Platform Installer (WebPI) gives you easy access to the latest components of the Microsoft web platform. But what advantage is there to have access to the Microsoft web platform?

Marc-André Lanciault is the CEO of INBOX International and co-founder of award-winning OSS app, ImpressCMS. ImpressCMS ran solely on a LAMP stack until a scenario arose where a client needed ImpressCMS to work on IIS as well. WebPI allowed this client to easily access ImpressCMS on a Windows stack.

For Marc-André, the real answer to “why WebPI?” was that it allowed ImpressCMS to reach more people, meaning more users overall. Since ImpressCMS has been added to the web app gallery, it’s been downloaded 3400+ times.

Marc-André answered a few questions with regards to the process of making an application available through WebPI:

Jenna Hoffman: What is the difference in using WebPI for the Windows stack vs. other web-based stacks?

Marc-André Lanciault: “One of the things that is cool is that we don’t have to worry much about the technologies that surround our application. We can focus on developing our application. We know that WebPI will know to run the correct MySQL version and the correct PHP version and so on. That takes a lot off our backs.

“The two things we needed to address when we wanted to make ImpressCMS work with IIS were translating the htaccess files from Apache to xml files for IIS and the permissions on the folders are managed a little bit differently, so we had to adjust those.”

JH: So, I guess a lot of the additional, administrative work is automatic with WebPI?

MA: “That’s right. WebPI initiates this and takes care of it by itself.”

JH: In the process of installing these updates and taking care of basic administration, does anything break?

MA: “Well, so far we haven’t had any problems. We can’t guarantee the future, but so far everything is working great.”

JH: What are your favourite features of WebPI?

MA: “I would have to say the core feature, which is the fact that you can install a ton of applications within a few clicks. That’s the main thing for me and, I believe, for most clients.

“You don’t have to worry about downloading a package, extracting it, putting all the files in the right folder, creating the database – everything is created automatically. You don’t have to worry about that.”

JH: Overall, was it easy to migrate ImpressCMS to be available through WebPI?

MA: “Yes, it was. Once we figured out how to translate the htaccess files to the xml config files and when we figured out the permissions, then it was working perfectly on IIS.

“The next step was to integrate it with WebPI. It took a few hours to figure out how it works. It’s pretty easy – you create a zip file that defines a few things like where you want the application to be installed and the database, things like that. After you make this file, the package is pretty much ready to go.

“Then we send it to you guys and a few days later it was in WebPI.”

If you have any questions/comments regarding WebPI or using the Windows stack, leave a comment for Marc-André or myself.