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7/23/2010
03:06 PM
Jim Rapoza
Jim Rapoza
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Microsoft's Matrix For The Web

Despite the fact that the Web has been around for just about twenty years, getting started with a web site still isn't anywhere near as easy as one would expect. Over that time many tools have been released to make getting a website started much easier, and now you can add WebMatrix, a new tool from Microsoft, to that list.

Despite the fact that the Web has been around for just about twenty years, getting started with a web site still isn't anywhere near as easy as one would expect. Over that time many tools have been released to make getting a website started much easier, and now you can add WebMatrix, a new tool from Microsoft, to that list.Released in beta earlier this month, WebMatrix is essentially a lightweight IDE, providing close to a full web development environment without the added weight and complexity of Visual Studio. Along with standard web development features, WebMatrix also includes light versions of the IIS web server and SQL Server, making it possible to build a fully functional data-based website and web applications without the need for other applications and servers.

There's a lot about WebMatrix that I like. In general, I've always thought a fully contained web development system like this is a good idea. They make it simple to quickly get up and running on a site, typically provide high ease of use to help out those just getting started with web development, and also make it simple for more experienced developers to prototype and demo sites and applications.

The download and install of WebMatrix is small and I was able to quickly get up and running with the tool. Along with blank sites, WebMatrix also lets users build a site using templates or by downloading site tools from the Microsoft Web Gallery. Along with the expected ASP.Net sites, WebMatrix can also be used to build PHP-based sites.

Some of the best features of WebMatrix include the embedded servers, the excellent site deployment options and included testing tools, such as a tool that looks for search optimization mistakes.

However, this beta also lacks many features I would expect. If you're doing any actual development and want to work either in direct code or a WYSIWYG environment, you'd be best off using it in conjunction with a more full featured web editing tool such as Adobe Dreamweaver or Microsoft Expression.

Still, this is just a beta and it does have a lot of promise. To check out the beta of Microsoft WebMatrix, go to www.microsoft.com/web/webmatrix/

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