Missing Web Site Templates in Visual Web Developer 2008 Express Edition

Continuing in my quest to experience the goodness of the new .NET 3.5 SP1 stuff from the ground up, I installed Visual Web Developer 2008 Express Edition.  After all, now that I have my AdventureWorks database up and running, I want to experiment with ASP.NET data scaffolding (ASP.NET Dynamic Data), JavaScript Intellisense, ADO.NET Entity Framework, ADO.NET Data Services, and many of the other great new features in this release.  As Scott Hanselman and Carl Franklin recently discussed on Hanselminutes, this framework update really should have been .NET 3.6 there is so much new stuff in there!

 

The Problem

So I was sorely disappointed to start my first web site and was prompted with this confusing dialog box after doing a File -> New -> Web Site:

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Selecting a different version of the framework didn’t fix anything, I had no web site templates!  How was I going to follow all of these simple step-by-step tutorials if I couldn’t get past step 1?  From the scores of other people having the same issue, I could tell I was not alone in my frustration.

Allow me to back up a bit and describe how I got into this predicament — it didn’t take long…

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After installing, I did the natural thing and clicked on the item in my start menu labeled “Microsoft Visual Studio 2008” as it seemed to be the only logical choice.  Verifying the properties shows that this shortcut is pointing to C:\Program Files\Microsoft Visual Studio 9.0\Common7\IDE\Devenv.exe, which is exactly what I would have expected from experience with other versions of Visual Studio (insert snide remark about seemingly old version number in the “Common7” part of the path).

 

The Solution

No telling if this will be the same problem that everyone else seemed to be having, but it appears I just opened the wrong .exe!?!  I can’t really blame myself though, since the installation process seems to be a bit misleading.  There is no shortcut anywhere to the correct application which is actually called VWDExpress.exe:

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Launching this executable manually gives me the much anticipated web site templates, and what I need to move on .  One subtle note is that my menu path to get to this is actually File -> New Web Site.  This path is one level shallower than the full blown studio version, but they both share the same keyboard shortcut of Shift + Alt + Nimage

So, if you read the whole post above and you’re still not quite sure what I am getting at, just look at the log in your development environment:

No web site templates (bad):

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Web site templates (good):

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The Details

To clarify whether or not this should apply to you, I am running all free versions of the tools provided my Microsoft.  If you have a full-blown version of Visual Studio, you may not experience this problem when using the standard IDE.  I first installed SQL Server 2008 Express, then Visual Web Developer 2008 Express.

This means that I now have the following versions of these files:

devenv.exe 9.0.30729.1
VWDExpress.exe 9.0.30729.1

 

Stay tuned for more blog posts as I continue on this journey…

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