Recently Microsoft announced a handful of free tools and technologies that developers can take advantage of to simplify creating professional Web sites.
First, on September 24, Microsoft announced the availability of Microsoft Web Platform Installer 2.0 (Web PI), a free tool that bundles several recently updated Microsoft Web development technologies, including Internet Explorer 8 and its related Web development tools, Internet Information Services media pack, several new extensions, the Windows Azure SDK and a 60-day trial version of Microsoft Expression 3. The tool also ships with SQL Server.
According to a Microsoft spokesperson, Web PI's new extensions include Advanced Logging 1.0 Beta, Application Request Routing 2.0 RC, Database Manager 1.0 RTW, Dynamic IP Restriction 1.0 Beta, Media Services 3.0 RTW (with Smooth Streaming), URL Rewrite 2.0 RC1, FastCGI for PHP support on IIS6, the II7 Administration Pack, FTP Publishing Service 7.5, WebDav 7.5 and Web Deployment Tool 1.0 RTW. Web PI also ships with the IIS SEO Toolkit Beta 2, which you can use to crawl your site and report back on issues that might affect a site's search engine listings.
At the same time, Microsoft announced the availability of the Windows Web Application Gallery 2.0 (WAG), a collection of free or open source applications that you can use Web PI to install. At the time of writing, you can find 22 WAG applications divided into six categories: Blogs (6), Content Management (9), eCommerce (1), Galleries (2), Tools (3) and Wiki (1). You can also sort them by language, although only one application is listed as being available in a language other than English. Note that these aren't new applications, nor are they applications created by Microsoft; rather, they are applications Microsoft says the Web PI will make easier to install.