Alvaro Dias

Using WebMatrix to create, publish and maintain websites with ease

Last week I talked about developing LESS on WebMatrix. So, this time I thought I’d talk a little bit about what WebMatrix is. Well, it is a lightweight tool that helps you create websites, and then publish and maintain websites with ease. You can read about the currently released version i.e. WebMatrix 2 on the website i.e. http://microsoft.com/web/webmatrix.

Today I will be talking about a few key aspects of WebMatrix that make it perfect for certain scenarios.

Deploying Open Source Applications

It has an integrated experience for customizing and publishing open source applications such as WordPress, Umbraco, Joomla, Drupal among others. How to install open source applications.

What’s really brilliant is that, it is able to detect dependencies! Let me explain. Lets say you decide to install and customize WordPress. Now, WordPress uses a MySql database on the backend. Which means that you need to have MySql installed on you computer for it to work. WebMatrix is able to automatically detect this and any other dependency (Other examples of dependencies could include SQL Server, SQL CE, Node.JS, etc.) you may require, and install it(them) for you through an easy flow.

Support for top languages

WebMatrix supports development of websites using ASP.NET, PHP, Node.js and HTML5, among others. This is further enhanced with extensions for some popular technologies such as the TypeScript compiler extension, OrangeBits (which I talked about in my previous post ), Zen Coding extension2, etc.

You can read more about what Zen Coding is in this wikipedia entry. It is open source – here’s the project page

Mobile friendly web development

WebMatrix has a set of templates that work well on mobile devices and on the desktop. Also, it has in-built support for device emulators. Currently, WebMatrix has emulators for Windows Phone 7, iPad and iPhone. In addition to this, it also has intellisense for jQuery mobile.

Extensibility

There is an extensibility model provided which helps you extend WebMatrix and publish these extensions to it’s extension gallery. click here so read more.

Databases

WebMatrix lets you work seemlessly with various databases, viz. SQL CE, Sql Server and MySQL. Creation of databases and modification of schema and data are as simple as it gets. Also, WebMatrix provides a straightforward path to migrate databases, for example, migrating a SQL CE database to a SQL Server database.

Publishing these databases is also handled for you by the product so long as you use a WebDeploy publish profile to publish your website.

There’s a lot more I’d like to write about WebMatrix, but for now, this is it.