Microsoft quietly delivers a first beta of WebMatrix 2.0 Web-development suite

Microsoft has made available for download a first beta of its WebMatrix 2.0 tool bundle for Web developers.
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor

A first beta of Microsoft's WebMatrix tool (version 2) is available to testers for download.

Unlike the case with the original version of WebMatrix, Microsoft isn't shouting from the rafters about the newest version of its WebMatrix tool bundle. I saw a note that there was a new beta out via a post on BetaNews. It's not downloadable from Microsoft's main Download site; instead you can find the beta on the WebMatrix home page (if you know to look for it).

Launched in 2010, WebMatrix was 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.

Microsoft has described WebMatrix as "a brand new web development tool from Microsoft that includes everything you need for website development. Start from open source web applications, built-in web templates or just start writing code yourself. It’s all-inclusive, simple and best of all free."

The beta of WebMatrix Version 2 is said to streamline the WebMatrix configuration process; broadens IntelliSense support to cover .Net, PHP, HTML, CSS and JavaScript; adds an integrated NuGet Package Manager; and improves access to WebMatrix extensions.  Microsoft details more of the new features here, and the WebMatrix 2.0 beta is downloadable here.

The ReadMe for the beta acknowledges (as one might expect) a few gotchas around usage with the Windows 8 Developer Preview. The ReadMe also notes that the SQL Server Compact Edition code seemingly is being updated with the SQL Server "Denali" code. (The Denali SQL Server release is due out in the first part of 2012.)

I've asked Microsoft officials as to when the company is planning to deliver the final version. No word back yet, but given the Denali dependency, I'd say 2012 is a good bet.

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