Microsoft delivers its free WebMatrix 2 Web development tool bundle

Microsoft's latest WebMatrix release makes it easier to install and/or publish open-source applications and built-in templates.
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor

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.

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