January 13 is the launch of Microsoft's WebMatrix open-source-friendly Web-development tool bundle. But that's not the only new open-source Microsoft deliverable that's hitting today.
Microsoft also is releasing the 1.0 version of its free, open-source "Orchard" content-management system (CMS). Like WebMatrix, Orchard's goal is to require users to do less coding, making the product appealing for a less techie audience, Microsoft is hoping.
Orchard was the successor to Microsoft's "Oxite" open-source CMS system. In December last year, Microsoft moved Orchard from its own CodePlex repository to the Outercurve Foundation. Microsoft "donated" Orchard to the Foundation, saying it was making a three-year support commitment. The dedicated project team, comprised of a handful of Microsoft employees, is being assigned full-time to the Foundation for that period.
Orchard is designed to help users create and manage Web sites, with customization possible via the browser-based editing tools built into the product. Orchard is built as an ASP.Net Model View Controller (MVC) 3 application, using the "Razor" view templates and SQL CE 4 for data storage. (Razor and the new compact SQL are both parts of the WebMatrix tool set.)
WebMatrix is a bundle of a lightweight version of Microsoft’s IIS Web Server, known as IIS Express; an updated version of SQL Server Compact Edition; and a new “view-engine option” for ASP.Net, known as “Razor,” which enables developers to embed Visual Basic or C# within HTML.
Microsoft announced the launch of WebMatrix, Orchard, MVC 3, the NuGet (previously known as NuPack) open-source package manager, and other Web-development tools and tidbits at the CodeMash conference in Ohio today. For more technical details about the products, see Corporate Vice President Scott Guthrie's blog post on the launch.