I've spent a lot of time in the last week evaluating the Copy Web experience inside Visual Web Developer. When using it, I ran into some confusion and I wanted to see what your opinons were. If you have used Copy Web, let me know your thoughts.
What do you expect this feature to actually do?
What does it do in your opinion?
What is confusing? What works well?
For me, I initially saw this tool as an integrated FTP tool that enables you to easily move files around. This understanding, now that I know more about the implementation today, isn't 100% correct. First, the tool is more of synchronization tool. It binds your local Website with the defined root of the remote site. It keeps a database of the files that exist on both sides, which is what enables it to keep the sites synchronized. It makes it simple to keep files and directory structures across the remote and local versions in sync, but doesn't give you 'FTP' like functionality. Currently, you can't create remote folders. You can't move files from a place on the local project to a different place on the remote project, since everything is bound to some root node. Is this how you would expect it to work? Some work we are considering for B2 or RTM:
1) Asynchronus -- allowing you to get a more responsive, feedback oriented synch -- this way we can still update the IDE during a copy and you use as a user can continue to work, open other programs, and not get a white screened UI window.
Does this matter to you? How important is it to continue to have the application be 100% responsive during an upload? Does this matter?
2) Folder 2 folder assocations - this would change the root level binding to be folder based -- enabling a more FTP like experience, moving files from the root on local site to a different place on the remote site. Imagine making a new directory called "testme" and then moving some files into that folder remotely. Today, this isn't possible -- with F2F assocations, it would be and you would still continue to get the improved DB experience that tracks deletions and timestamps.
3) UI work -- some work to simplify the UI and add more context sensitive (right click) functioanlity
Another question - how many people typically log into a web server (ftp://myhost.com u: me pw: me) and then have more then 1 subfolder that contains sites. I think of this as the I manage 20 sites, all off 1 login to a shared host, and then work off subfolders to deploy sites. Is this something you experience?
different logins go to different roots off the same domain name -- I"ve historically had hosting scenarios where this is the case... how about you?
Give me your thoughts and feedback ... Today, I think Copy Web does a great job of helping keep a local / remote site in synch and deploying that application -- as long as you go in understanding this is how it works. No doubt this is a big win for customers. But, what else could we do, either with 2005 or in "Orcas" to really deliver the best possible deployment tool.