Don't. Trust. The Software.

I recently made the mistake of trusting software.

No, this isn’t your typical “I accidentally installed a virus because I trusted a really scammy site” kind of trust.

I trusted Microsoft.

More specifically, I trusted the Microsoft Web Platform Installer.

Don’t get me wrong. Normally, I really like the Web Platform Installer. It is the closest I have seen Windows ever get to a central software repository too (ala Brew, Portage, Yum, etc.). It makes managing all the random software that may get installed on a development machine, a deployment server, or whatever else I may need.

However, today, that changed a little bit.

I was recently setting up Web Deploy for a continuous integration build. Just to make sure I did it right, I pulled up the official installation instructions for IIS 8. You’ll note, if you follow the link, that the instructions specifically say to install the Recommended Server Configuration for Web Hosting Providers from the Web Deploy. So, that is what I did.

I then continued to follow the guide to configure Web Deploy so I could do the deploy from a non-admin account on a remote machine. All was well and good.

Then, I attempted to setup a Publish Profile in Visual Studio 2012. When I attempt to Validate the connection, I received a few different errors. Fortunately, the errors are straightforward for the most part and I was able to debug those (I won’t bore you with the details). I finally made it to this error:

2014-10-22 15:53:09 HEAD /msdeploy.axd site=Default%20Web%20Site 8172 - - - 404 7 0 1388

After doing a bit of research, I kept coming across that Web Deploy had not been installed correctly. Of course (and please note my mistake, folks), I assumed that the Web Platform Installer had done everything correctly. So, I spent the next hour or so trying everything to get things to work.

Then, through a random (and, at this point, a frustrated) search, I ran across this post.

And I smacked myself in the forehead.

I headed on over to the Web Deploy 3.5 download page. I downloaded the actual installer and fired it up. It turns out that Mr. Louros was 100% correct. When I fired up the installer, I saw this screen:

Web Deploy Installer

It really was that simple. I added the additional items that had not been installed. Restarted the service. It worked.

Long story short – don’t make assumptions. Even when the documentation says you are doing the right thing. Even when the software has worked in the past. Even when it’s very professional, well-written software. Check it out for yourself.