A little while back, I blogged about Microsoft’s big steps forward recently, one of which being the release of Visual Studio Express, a scaled-down version of Visual Studio. I recently decided to download the Visual Web Developer part of Visual Studio Express and I’m absolutely ecstatic with it.

I was able to get a simple web application up and running against a database (SQL Server Express) in less than a day after having zero experience with ASP.NET. I could test it easily because Visual Web Developer has a test web server built right into it. I just had to press F5 and the server loaded, started, and my browser opened with my page in it. Brilliant!

Really, this is what rapid application development is all about. I was able to do this so quickly and without needing to set up a whole environment (I’m looking at you, PHP). I just installed Visual Web Developer and SQL Server Express, threw some code together, and made it run. If it were this easy to set up other web servers, I’d have them all running on my machine right now.

Disclaimer: Any viewpoints and opinions expressed in this article are those of Nicholas C. Zakas and do not, in any way, reflect those of my employer, my colleagues, Wrox Publishing, O'Reilly Publishing, or anyone else. I speak only for myself, not for them.

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