Microsoft recently released a new flavor of IIS 7.x that is optimized for developer scenarios called “IIS Express” as part of WebMatrix. IIS Express combines the ease of use of the ASP.NET Web Server with the full power of IIS. Specifically:
- It’s lightweight and easy to install (less than 10Mb download and a super quick install)
- It does not require an administrator account to run/debug applications from Visual Studio
- It enables a full web-server feature set – including SSL, URL Rewrite, Media Support, and all other IIS 7.x modules
- It supports and enables the same extensibility model and web.config file settings that IIS 7.x support
- It can be installed side-by-side with the full IIS web server as well as the ASP.NET Development Server (they do not conflict at all)
- It works on Windows XP and higher operating systems – giving you a full IIS 7.x developer feature-set on all OS platforms
IIS Express (like the ASP.NET Development Server) can be quickly launched to run a site from a directory on disk. It does not require any registration/configuration steps. This makes it really easy to launch and run for development scenarios.
Unfortunately you’ll need a patch for VS 2010 and Visual Web Developer 2010 Express in order to enable you to automatically launch and use IIS Express in place of VS’s built-in ASP.NET Developer Server, which will come later this year.
For those of us too impatient to wait for a hotfix for Visual Studio to natively support IIS Express, I’ve done some searching and found a post, by Interpid Studios, to [fairly] easily setup a debugging environment for IIS Express and VS 2010.