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After seeing a tweet I went to look what this new thing was from Microsoft. It turned out to be a beta program called WebMatrix. So what is this new program? Well it’s a tool for building websites with Windows. It includes IIS Developer Express (a development Web server), ASP.NET (a Web framework), and SQL Server Compact (an embedded database). So what is it exactly? Well it is designed so that people can build simple sites fast.Microsoft say “It streamlines Web site development and makes it easy to start Web sites from popular open-source apps.” From my first glance it does look pretty simple.

WM1

So who have they aimed this at then?

WebMatrix is for developers, students, or just about anyone who just wants a small and simple way to build Web sites. Start coding, testing, and deploying your own Web sites without having to worry about configuring your own Web server, managing databases, or learning a lot of concepts. WebMatrix makes Web site development easy.

Why would you use it?

You will use the same powerful Web server, database engine and web framework that will run your Web site on the Internet, which makes the transition from development to product seamless. Beyond ensuring everything just works, WebMatrix includes new features that make Web development easier.

WM2

One of the options it gives you is the ability to create a website using a premade system like WordPress. WebMatrix is very good when you want to do something like this and for testing on your machine as it can set it up so that it will be ready for when you want to share it live and something that I like is that it will install MySQL on your machine if you have not got it installed.

You can start from scratch it you want or use one of the templates. They said this is good for Developers and Students etc and I also say that is true but I believe that this would be good for beginners as everything is here, the code, databases etc.

WM3

As you can see everything is nicely laid out. I can look at my files, databases and create reports for SEO etc in the main section. I even have the same options on the bottom left that never go away so you can always access them. You have a Tree list on the left of the main screen and this changes depending on which page you are on.

When viewing your files for editing or creating you get some nice options in the ribbon at the top to help you with your sites. You are able to run it and it will be able to view your site like you normally would in a browser.

WM4

I find that the syntax highlighting is not all that great because of it highlight the ‘Razor’ syntax for ASP.NET. I have had a look at this new syntax and it looks like PHP mashed with JS. Although this does look good as it is smaller and easy to learn they sure made it look ugly in the highlighting. (It’s the green bits) I have not yet looked to see if I can change this but you probably can. To use this new syntax you have a new file extension CSHTMLI do not now why they chose that I would of gone for ASPR like ASPX was the new ASP so ASPR sounds good as the ‘R’ is for Razor. However, I have not yet tested but I shall so soon as to whether other browsers other than Internet Explorer can work well with this as they might not recognise it will and make you download it and not run it.

I do like this and I think this will be very good for ASP.NET work and not so much PHP. So for the time being I shall be sticking with Expression Web. However, I would like to see the Database feature in EW as it would be rather useful.

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