Somewhere between this article on the .webinfo file and this post about the .csproj file (that incorrectly presumes it’s a Visual SourceSafe problem — I’m no big fan of VSS but it’s not the issue in this case) I successfully made a local copy of a web app we’ve been working on. Copy the directory . . . make it a virtual directory in IIS, modify the .webinfo file, rename as necessary (webinfo must be same name as the csproj file it seems).
My question: what are the best practices around duplicating a web app on the same box (for running side-by-side as different instances with slightly different interfaces, etc?). I KNOW that one can deploy the app to different virtual directories, but what I’m after is a form of branching the codebase into a totally new web application on a dev machine with the least amount of effort. We’ll use VS.Net to make some changes to the UI code for each customer (but reuse the same core assemblies for business logic etc); we’re talking more than just style sheets, here, also. Too bad “deploying” the app to the same machine (and checking the “include source code” option”) doesn’t configure IIS for you and the other manual work . . .
Writing this post has reminded me of a few projects I’ve been on where all the UI stuff was configured from a database . . . the text of every label, x and y positioning on the screen, presence of dropdown lists and other user input widgets, graphics, etc. This would solve my particular problem of changing the UI stuff for each customer but introduce a whole host of other architecture issues — think about doing web layout from a set of related SQL Server tables and you’ll get the idea.
Maybe this would be a handy utility to throw up on something like GotDotNet . . . if GDN didn’t have so many issues. I guess SourceForge is the main player in the shared project space — but for something as minor as I’m suggesting it might be better off just posted as an EXE somewhere on CodeBetter. I’ll give it some thought.