Microsoft WebMatrix – An Introduction
Most of you are familiar with WebMatrix – the set of free tools for creating, publishing and maintaining Web sites – from Microsoft. Introduced in 2010, WebMatrix also known as the tool bundle is intended at developers using ASP.Net, PHP, Node.js and/or HTML5.
Consisting of Web server, database engines, various programming languages, etc.; WebMatrix’s profound fitting with Windows Azure follows a pattern. More so, it is a favorite with the developers as it empowers them to swiftly install and publish open-source applications or built-in templates – to create, publish and maintain their Web sites.
Microsoft has recently released the latest version of its free web development tool – WebMatrix 3, which is available with deeper Windows Azure integration and support for GitHub. One of its cutting-edge features is its new visual site gallery that allows the user to open current sites on their local devices, or to remotely edit sites that are hosted in Windows Azure.
WEBMATRIX 3 – WHAT’S NEW!
– Offers Uninterrupted Remote Experience
One of the most prominent enhancements brought about by the advent of WebMatrix 3 is seamless remote experience where besides support for viewing and opening your Windows Azure remotely, you can garner support for provisioning remote websites in Windows Azure as well. Also, it offers you highly-enhanced remote editing experience with great code completion and colorization for PHP, ASP.NET as well as Node.js.
– Stay Connected to the Cloud
WebMatrix allows you to easily manage your websites in Azure with deep-linking integration for Windows Azure Management Portal. Enhancements have also been made to Windows Azure Management Portal that allows you to click the “WebMatrix” button on Windows Azure Websites to directly launch WebMatrix remote editing. Moreover, it also Support for signing into Windows Azure with Microsoft Account (formerly Live ID) and organizational or Office 365 IDs.
– Integration of Source Code
With WebMatrix 3 supporting both Git and TFS (Team Foundation Service), you can expect a source control experience that is extensible. Moreover, after collaborating with partners, there is provision to include rich support for CodePlex and GitHub as well.
– Lighter and Faster
The new WebMatrix 3 with streamlined installation is set to remove many unnecessary dependencies, besides facilitating a faster WebMatrix app setup.
WebMatrix – More Empowerment to Developers
This new version of WebMatrix 3 promises to offer more power to users and developers, like:
Users can now sign in through Windows Azure and create up to 10 sites for free.
Users can manage their sites locally or in Windows Azure.
Developers can do remote editing of their sites.
Improved integration with Windows Azure and enhanced Intellisense for PHP and Node.js.
You can instantaneously get a companion website in Windows Azure for creating local projects, – and that too without ever leaving WebMatrix. All you need to do so as to keep these websites in sync easily is, to use the Publish button and then save your changes to the cloud.
Git tooling comprises of support for branching, commits, multiple remotes and publishing web sites to Windows Azure. These then work with a user’s urgent repositories, configuration, and existing tools.
There are some known issues with Windows Azure like, in case you provision a Windows Azure website with SQL and use an invalid SQL password; it will be provisioned but fail to publish. So, it is imperative that when you create a site on Windows Azure, WebMatrix will prompt you for the remote SQL password (NOTE: This password will only be used for the publish settings, not for provisioning). So, here is a classic case where you achieve success with provisioning; but will fail in the process of publishing with a failure error message stating “Could not publish to the remote database. Please ensure the publish profile contains a database and verify that the remote database is accessible.”
How has been your experience using WebMatrix 3? Do write to us.
Ellis is a digital marketing strategist at VITEB. He is passionate about web trends and online marketing.
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