Microsoft's Visual Studio Web Application Project 1.0, which allows the project-building model from the .NET Framework 1.1 to coexist with the new model in .NET 2.0, is now available for download here from Microsoft. The tool will also be included in Visual Studio 2005 Service Pack 1, which is coming later this year.
Visual Studio 2005 and ASP.NET 2.0 introduced the Web Site Project as an easier way to build Web applications -- for example, it eliminates the need for a complicit build step. The model used for Web applications in VS 2003 and ASP.NET 1.1 mirrored the model for building desktop apps.
With the Web Application Project, these two models work side by side, with the same project, build and compilation semantics, Scott Guthrie wrote in this blog entry. Guthrie also detailed some of the project's features, including support for Visual Studio Team System and "Edit and Continue," which implements code updates automatically, even while the debugger is running.
In an earlier post, Guthrie wrote about the basics of using the Web Application Project. Click here to read that post.
More information on moving Web apps from VS 2003 to VS 2005, and thus into the new Web Application Project model -- is available in the MSDN white paper Visual Studio 2005: Introduction to Web Application Projects.
Before installing Web Application Projects, developers need to install this update.
Finally, Peter Johnson, one developer who has tried the Web Application Projects, offers his pros and cons for upgrading a Web site to a Web app.