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InfoQ Homepage News Microsoft Offers a Set of Web Development Tools for $100

Microsoft Offers a Set of Web Development Tools for $100


In an attempt to lure web developers to its platform, Microsoft has created the WebsiteSpark program which offers a consistent package of Microsoft web development applications plus support and training for 3 years for a fee of $100 paid at the end of the program.

The package offered contains the following applications, according to Scott Guthrie:

  • 3 licenses of Visual Studio 2008 Professional Edition
  • 1 license of Expression Studio 3
  • 2 licenses of Expression Web 3
  • 4 processor licenses of Windows Web Server 2008 R2
  • 4 processor licenses of SQL Server 2008 Web Edition
  • DotNetPanel control panel

Windows Server and SQL server can be used both in production and development. Beside software, Microsoft offers support and training, and they can “benefit from Microsoft marketing and business networking vehicles to showcase and drive demand toward their Web services and solutions.”

To enroll in the WebsiteSpark program, the applicant must be involved in the process of building web sites for other companies and to have less than 10 employees. Within 6 months from receiving membership, the company must deploy a website created with Microsoft’s tools and report back to Microsoft. Also, a fee of $100 is paid when exiting the program after 3 years. Other options are:

At the end of the three years, WebsiteSpark participants can optionally choose to purchase all of the software in the WebsiteSpark program via a $999/year package.  This includes 3 copies of VS Professional, 1 copy of Expression Studio (including Blend and Sketchflow), 2 copies of Expression Web, and 4 processor licenses of Windows Web Server 2008 and 4 processor licenses of SQL Server Web edition that can be used for production deployment.

Alternatively, if you want to purchase only the production server licenses, you can take advantage of a $199/year offering that includes both 1 Windows Web Server processor license and 1 SQL Server Web edition processor license.  You can buy the quantity you need of this package at $199/year each.

Some 15,000 to 25,000 small businesses are expected to access the program according to Mitra Azizirad, General Manager of Developer Platform Evangelism, quoted by Brier Dudley. Also, “earlier ‘Spark’ programs that provided software to tech startups and college students were a hit. Over 10 months, more than 20,000 companies enrolled in the Bizspark program for startups, and the Dreamspark program for students has had more than 2.6 million downloads”, said Azizirad.

Usually such a program shows that the respective technologies do not sell very well, and they are offered for free or almost for free in an attempt to convince developers to use them. If 20,000 small businesses with 5 web developers each start using the WebsiteSpark program, then 100,000 developers end up using Microsoft’s web software, which is not a negligible number.

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Community comments

  • Wrong links

    by Guru Prasath,

    Your message is awaiting moderation. Thank you for participating in the discussion.

    Links for Bizspark & Dreamspark are wrong.

  • Don't sell well? Compared to what?

    by Steve Macdonald,

    Your message is awaiting moderation. Thank you for participating in the discussion.

    VS.Net, SQL Server, IIS may not have total mindshare (who would want that anyway?) but they certainly sell extremely well. I've been working on this platform within the Fortune 100 for years now. There are plenty of LAMP and other projects too, but a solid 1/3 of projects tend to use the MS stack.

  • Re: Wrong links

    by Abel Avram,

    Your message is awaiting moderation. Thank you for participating in the discussion.

    Thanks. I fixed them now. Live Writer did something strange.

  • Re: Don't sell well? Compared to what?

    by Abel Avram,

    Your message is awaiting moderation. Thank you for participating in the discussion.

    The post is about Microsoft's website authoring tools: Expression Studio & Web. Those do not sell well. The others come in the package because they are needed or desired to be used with Expression.

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