Microsoft delivers its free WebMatrix 2 Web development tool bundle

Microsoft delivers its free WebMatrix 2 Web development tool bundle

Summary: Microsoft's latest WebMatrix release makes it easier to install and/or publish open-source applications and built-in templates.


A year after making available a beta of version 2 of WebMatrix, its lightweight Web-development tool suite, Microsoft has shipped the final version.


WebMatrix is a bundle of tools designed to allow developers to quickly install and publish open-source applications or built-in templates to create, publish and maintain their Web sites. Included in the bundle are a Web server, database engines, various programming languages and more. It is aimed at developers using ASP.Net, PHP, Node.js and/or HTML5.

Among the new features in WebMatrix version 2, according to the Softies:

  • A new "extensibility model" allowing devs to write their own plug-ins or use community-built ones
  • "Extremely fast install" of open source apps such as Joomla!, WordPress, Drupal, DotNetNuke and Umbraco
  • New built-in templates for PHP, Node.js and HTML5, and mobile support for all templates
  • Simple UI to install necessary components from thousands of NuGet packages
  • Tighter integration with Windows Azure, simplifying publishing of a local site from WebMatrix

Developers who already are using Microsoft's Windows Azure Web Sites hosting framework, can obtain the latest version of WebMatrix by clicking the WebMatrix button on their dashboards. WebMatrix 2 also is downloadable directly from Microsoft's WebMatrix page.

Originally launched in 2010, WebMatrix got its start as a collection 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 enabled developers to embed Visual Basic or C# within HTML.

WebMatrix isn't the only Microsoft development tool suite we'll be hearing about this week. Microsoft is holding its Visual Studio 2012 virtual launch on September 12, starting at 9:30 am PT, where company officials will share more about the newest Visual Studio release and how it figures into developing Metro/Windows Store/modern apps.

Topics: Open Source, Cloud, Microsoft, Software Development


Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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  • Something that some people forget

    WebMatrix's companion app, the Web Platform Installer, also runs on Windows Server. So when you want to deploy SQL Server, Full IIS w/ Recommended Configuration, ASP.Net, SharePoint, etc., go ahead and launch Web Platform Installer on your Windows Server desktop. It will download all of the required components for the install. Web Platform Installer customizes itself based on the platform, so it only offers components that are compatible with Windows Server when launched on it. When launched on a client PC, it offers software that is more appropriate for the platform (IIS Express is featured, although you can still install the desktop version of full IIS too).
  • Originally Released 2010?

    I have web matrix installers from 6/2002 or "Project Saturn" installers from 4/2002. I wish it would have been open sourced back then.
    Mic Cox
    • Not the same WebMatrix

      This product is entirely unrelated to the "Web Matrix" from 2002.
      • Based on...

        ...your opinion? I have confirmation from a Microsoft Tech Evangelist that they couldn't release the source of the old version because some of it is the basis for the newest version. They share the same name and fill the same space of a lightweight IDE.
        Mic Cox
        • Based on...

          FWIW, I can confirm that the code bases for old and new version are different :-)