Microsoft releases the WebMatrix web development tool
June 21, 2011
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In July of 2010 the Beta of WebMatrix was released and updated to Beta 2 in January this year. This week, WebMatrix was officially released…. I say released but in actual fact this is a revival of a 2004 project that was subsequently dropped. Microsoft claims this time to have fully adopted the project and it is part of their portfolio of applications. Microsoft has however in recent times become quite famous for developing new technologies only to abandon them later, leaving early adopters high and dry. WebMatrix is one of those rare exceptions to get a second life after being dropped like a stone six years ago.
WebMatrix provides a free web development environment for .NET and, to a lesser extent, PHP. The aim appears to be to provide a simple entry point to .NET web development for beginner coders – the hope being that once snared within the Microsoft development environment, programmers will upgrade to Visual Studio. The initial install includes the IIS Express web server, the SQL Server Compact Edition for databases and support for the new Razor mark-up syntax.
To get started creating websites, just download and install WebMatrix using the Microsoft Web Platform Installer. You’ll be up and running less than 5 minutes! Microsoft’s tutorials walk you competently through the standard “hello world” equivalents – including pulling data from a database.
Not only can you develop sites from scratch but the option also exists to integrate open-source frameworks. WebMatrix makes it simple to get and install the latest version of free web applications such as WordPress, Joomla!, DotNetNuke and Drupal. By choosing the WordPress framework, for example, WebMatrix will install and configure a fully working WordPress site running locally. The intention is that you’d put your site together on your PC and then upload it to a compatible host using Microsoft’s Web Deploy technology. It works in a similar way to a WAMP server but in a more convenient package.
Find out more about how to download the application and take a look at the introduction tutorials at the Microsoft WebMatrix site