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Sitefinity 4.0 CTP – Web Server Included

by Gabe Sumner

In my last blog post, I described our goal of making Sitefinity 4.0 installation effortless.  Within a couple of minutes of download, we wanted customers to be focused on building their web sites, not installation. 

We’re accomplishing this goal, in part, through Sitefinity 4.0’s built-in web server.

Sitefinity 4.0 Integrated Web Server Started

This blog post contains a few additional details about this embedded web server.  What is it?  What is it for?  Why is it good? And where does this fit into Sitefinity’s broader vision?

Why it good?

One of the primary reasons Sitefinity 3.x installation was challenging is because it involved IIS setup.  This process became of bottleneck for new and existing customers.  Sitefinity 4.0 removes this bottleneck by removing our dependence (during setup) on IIS.  When Sitefinity 4.0 is downloaded, it comes included with almost everything needed to get a new Sitefinity web site up & running.

What is it?

The embedded web server included in Sitefinity 4.0 is based on the Casini Web Server.  Casini is an open-source lightweight web server capable of running ASP.NET web sites.

What is it used for?

The integrated web server is useful for:

- Evaluation
- Setup
- Testing
- Development

The integrated web server is NOT intended for:

- Staging
- Production

Live/Production Sitefinity web sites should be hosted on a Windows Server using IIS.  (The 4.0 CTP release is not currently intended for production use.)  During deployment experienced system administrators would handle the IIS and permission setup tasks needed to host a public ASP.NET web site.  

However, we don’t want new and trial customers to be forced to confront these issues as they attempt their first steps into Sitefinity.  The embedded web server ensures that these tasks get addressed during deployment (appropriate) instead during project creation.

The Broader Vision

Internally we had a small debate about whether this embedded web server would be used for development –OR-  whether this was merely an evaluation tool for new Sitefinity customers.  Some Telerik developers could not imagine development happening outside Visual Studio.  However, other Telerik developers consider reliance on Visual Studio a failure of the UI to accomplish a task.

In general, we consider both perspectives valid and important.

-  We will not limit developers’ ability to get down to the metal. 
-  We want to reduce the need to get down to the metal. 

Summarized broadly, easy tasks should be easy and hard tasks should be possible.  The embedded web server eliminates pain early in the process.  However, developers and system administrators are still free to configure their own development, staging and production environments if preferred.

Get Involved

If you haven’t already, please download the Sitefinity 4.0 CTP.  I’ve described our goal of making installation effortless, but we want to learn more about your own experience.  Give the CTP a try and then post your feedback to the Sitefinity 4.0 Forums.

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