Vista, IIS7 & BlueDragon

By: Sean Corfield | 2007-08-14

I'm trying to set up a full-blown development environment on Vista, just to see how I get on and to compare it with my regular development environment on OS X.

Taking the Web into our own hands, one computer at a time

Having beaten SQL Server Express into submission after much pain, I figured I'd talk about my experiences getting BlueDragon 7 .NET installed and running.

First off, I knew that IIS was not enabled by default but poking around in what I thought were the obvious places didn't give me any clues about how to enable it. Google quickly directed me to a tech note (on MSDN or Microsoft's support site) that showed me the way. The more I work with Vista, the less I like the new Control Panel layout compared to XP. Anyway, I enabled IIS per the instructions and verified that I could access it locally. A quick tweak to the firewall allowed me to access it from OS X as well. All good so far and not too painful.

Now that IIS 7 was running, I figured BD7.NET would be a simple install. The install went fairly smoothly but IIS7 refused to serve any pages up afterward. The friendly error message pointed at a problem with applicationHost.config so I tracked that file down (another Google search) but couldn't figure out how to open it (because of security restrictions). Another Google search revealed that I needed to locate Notepad in the Start Menu and right-click Run As Administrator and then Open... and navigate back to the configuration file. By pure guesswork, I changed:

<location path="" overrideMode="Allow">
which wraps the BD-installed handlers to:
<location path="Default Web Site" overrideMode="Allow">

and IIS7 came back to life. Yay me! Unfortunately, when I tried to run the BlueDragon Admin, I got a 500 error and something about a bad "ManagedPipelineHandler" in the BlueDragon configuration (and, of course, that text was nowhere to be found in the config file!).

Google turned up one reference to this, on New Atlanta's self-help mailing list. Someone called Brian had hit the exact same error back in July but no one had replied. Darn!

So I emailed New Atlanta's support and today I got a response from Lori who confirmed that the applicationHost.config settings were correct (with path="") but asked me to check a couple of things... Number one was whether I had installed ASP.NET. Hmm, I thought that was built into IIS7 so it hadn't occurred to me I'd need to set that up independently. It also hadn't occurred to me that BD7.NET would require ASP.NET but that's another story.

Lori had attached a screen shot of the same Windows program features dialog that I'd used to enable IIS7 but she showed the options I needed to check to enable ASP.NET.

Things still didn't work right but now I could figure out the solution on my own: since I'd installed BD7.NET before ASP.NET, applicationHost.config wasn't what BD expected so all I had to do was merge the BlueDragon handlers into the ASP.NET handlers. Yes, that worked as expected!

IIS7 works. BlueDragon works. I can access both from Vista and from OS X. I configured a MS SQL Server data source (to connect to the SQL Server Express instance) and that worked too! Yay!

Then I tried to configure a MySQL data source and got "Could not load file or assembly 'MySql.Data' or one of its dependencies." *sigh*

So I downloaded the Connect/NET 5.0 ADO-based driver and installed that and rebooted. Still the same error message.

Back to Google I guess...


About the Author: Sean is currently Chief Technology Officer for Railo Technologies US. He has worked in IT for over twenty five years, starting out writing database systems and compilers then moving into mobile telecoms and finally into web development in 1997. Along the way, he worked on the ISO and ANSI C++ Standards committees for eight years and is a staunch advocate of software standards and best practice. Sean has championed and contributed to a number of CFML frameworks and was lead developer on Fusebox for two years.