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Can I use the Microsoft Web Platform Installer to install an application that I create? Everything I've seen/read so far seems to indicate it can be used to update IIS, download components as well as free software like WordPress etc. but I haven't found anything to indicate I can use it as a deploy tool for software I make.

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Yes, you can upload your app to the gallery but there are a couple of caveats. From Scott Hanselman's post on this topic:

In order to upload to the gallery your app should:

  1. Be Current: The application you provide a link to must be the latest, stable final release version available, hosted on a publically available Web URL

  2. Be Free of Charge: The application for which you submit a link to the Microsoft Web App Gallery must be provided free of charge and fully functional without time restrictions. You are welcome to charge for professional support or consulting services and/or provide an enhanced, enterprise version of the application for purchase on your site. We will be happy to provide a link to your commercial products and services from your page in the Microsoft Web Application Gallery.

  3. Be Compatible: The application to which you provide a link must run on Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2008, Windows XP & Windows Vista using best practices on running ASP.NET applications and PHP applications on IIS.

  4. Be Deployable: The application to which you provide a link must integrate with Microsoft Web Deploy as described in the Microsoft Web Application Packaging Guide, and run with the Microsoft Web Platform Installer v2.

  5. Be Supported: You must provide a publicly available Web site where end users can download your application, find documentation and/or get free on a best effort basis support through a forum.

  6. Be Hostable: The application to which you provide a link must run well in a shared hosted environment as well as when the user has administrative rights for the computer.

  7. Be Inclusive: If your link is included in the Gallery, you should include a link on your application community’s Web site to your Application entry on the Microsoft Web Application Gallery.

  8. Be Safe: The application to which you provide a link must not harm customers or be malicious, dishonest, destructive, invasive, or act in any manner restricted by the Web Gallery Application Submission agreement.

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