Microsoft Does It Again - Released Today: The ASP.NET Starter Kits Betas
Microsoft is once again pulling out all the stops. Today Microsoft announced that they have been developing a set of ASP.NET applications complete with source code and documentation. These applications, called the ASP.NET Starter Kits, are also available starting today as a public beta.
Have you used Web Matrix yet — the Web development tool from Microsoft? When Web Matrix released, many questions were raised. How could Microsoft charge this amount for the product? What was the catch? Why was this happening? Does it really work? One question that wasn't asked was, "Is it worth the price?" Web Matrix was free. Not only that, it worked — and it worked very well.
Web Matrix is a tool for creating ASP.NET Web pages. For the most part, it seems to be a very scaled down version of Visual Studio .NET. The catch for using Web Matrix is that you need .NET; however, since you use it for developing .NET applications, this requirement is no surprise. Of course, the .NET Framework and runtime are also both free as well!
Today Microsoft announced the five ASP.NET Starter Kits. These products will be available to developers as betas releases starting today. Like Web Matrix, the intended price of these products as both, beta and in final form, is free.
Microsoft has made it public that they are interested in continuing their investment in resources for the .NET community. Products such as Web Matrix, IBuySpy, and now the new Starter Kits are all indicators that they are backing this.
What Are The ASP.NET Starter Kits?
The ASP.NET Starter Kits are applications that contain a complete solution as well as all the source code. The Starter Kits have been designed to help simplify development with ASP.NET. They are solution-based products that can be used by new and experienced programmers to create custom solutions. The developers of these products have taken the extra time to provide documentation on using and customizing these solutions. It is these added comments that make these kits approachable.
Each starter kit addresses a specific Web-based solution. There are five ASP.NET Starter Kits. They are:
- The ASP.NET Community Starter Kit
- The Time Tracker Starter Kit
- The Reports Starter Kit
- The Commerce Starter Kit
- The ASP.NET Portal Starter Kit
According to Microsoft, the final release of these starter kits will be free. The intent is to distribute them from one of their Web sites. Specifically, they will be distributed as a download on www.asp.net. There are also plans to provide these starter kits on CDs at ASP focused conferences.
When asked what the objective of releasing these as free products, the response from Microsoft was:
Microsoft's objectives are to 1) provide new developers a great set of samples from which they can learn ASP.NET 2) provide experienced developers and new developers a great base of code which they can use directly in their application.
Most of the starter kits come with multiple install files. Generally there are three separate install file for people using the SDKs (one for each of C#, Visual Basic .NET, and J#). There are also three additional install files for people using the Visual Studio .NET IDE (again, one for each these languages). Each install files provides the complete Web solution, source code, and documentation on using and customizing the solution. The installation only takes a few minutes. Once installed, the solutions are ready to run.