Installing Visual Studio from an Internal Intranet Website
We’re happy to announce that starting with Visual Studio 2022 version 17.6, Visual Studio layouts are available to install from an internal intranet website!
Enterprise customers have long been able to download a particular version of Visual Studio, host it on a private network file share, and make it available for their clients to install. This download cache of Visual Studio product files is commonly known as a layout. There are a few reasons why a company would choose to use layouts. For example, the administrator may want control what version of the product their organization uses. Or sometimes, the client machines or users don’t have sufficient access permissions, and thus they cannot download or install Visual Studio from Microsoft servers.
Several administrators have asked for the ability to install a Visual Studio layout from an internal intranet website instead of from a network file share so that they can more easily
- deal with complicated scripting logic that manages client-to-layout connections in different geographical areas. A static internal website sitting in front of these distributed file share servers simplifies their deployment code.
- take advantage of website caching and realize download performance improvements.
- manage access permissions on websites as compared to file network shares.
- adjust Visual Studio’s update source by configuring a single website’s binding as opposed to updating multiple client update channels.
How to setup a web hosted layout
The process for setting up a web hosted layout involves three main steps.
- Create, maintain, and update a regular layout on a network file share just like normal.
- Create and configure an internal website and bind the website’s source to the layout’s network file location. Make sure that permissions are set and the MIME types are registered properly on the internal website. You’ll likely want to configure the layout’s response.json file so that client updates are sourced from the internal website.
- Run an initialization script on the client to perform the initial installation from the internal website. Once the admin has done this, then Visual Studio will be ready for normal use.
Even though this feature is new, this functionality extends to all supported versions of Visual Studio now that the latest Visual Studio installer is shipping everywhere Just be sure you use the latest bootstrappers and installers that were released on or after June 1, 2023.
We hope that this new feature will provide more options to successfully acquire and update Visual Studio within your organization.
Let us know what you think
We welcome your feedback on this experience! Feel free to add comments to this blog post or submit a problem report on the Visual Studio IT Administrator feedback page about any challenges you have or improvements you’d like to see regarding this internal website acquisition solution. We welcome your feedback on other topics too – please leave a suggestion for another experience you’d like us to deliver and fill out our Customer Deployment Profile survey, so we have a better understanding of your operational environments.