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WebMatrix 2: New Templates, Improved Intellisense, Windows Azure Integration

by Anand Narayanaswamy on Oct 02, 2012 |

WebMatrix 2 is a web development tool that enables developers to quickly build and deploy ASP.NET, PHP, HTML5, CSS3 applications. The latest release includes new templates for ASP.NET, PHP, Node.js and HTML5 with simulators for iPhone and iPad. Moreover, it includes built-in support for SQL Server, MySQL and SQL Server CE databases.

Figure 1 – WebMatrix 2 Templates

WebMatrix 2 is available in 14 languages with Intellisense support for major programming languages such as ASP.NET, PHP, Node.js, HTML5, CSS3, Razor and Jquery. It also provides an ability to install and configure over 50 applications such as WordPress, Joomla, mojoPortal, Orchard CMS, BlogEngine.NET, DasBlog and Umbraco with support for application specific code completion.

Figure 2 – Install Applications Easily from Web Gallery

"I have been telling people to use WebMatrix for simple sites or as a quick JS/HTML/CSS editor if they aren’t cool enough to use Vim", says Scott Koon, ASPInsider.

WebMatrix 2 includes an extensibility model that enables developers to write plugins or make use of community contributed plugins. It enables developers to publish sites and databases directly to Windows Azure with the ability to edit files on live sites using remote view.

Figure 3 – Deploy your Applications to Windows Azure

"If you are already using Windows Azure web sites, you can simply click the WebMatrix button in your dashboard,” says Faith Allington of WebMatrix 2 product team.

WebMatrix 2 also enables developers to easily publish sites to a web hosting server and with Web Deploy, which allows either publishing of entire database with schema and data or only those files which are modified. Moreover, web deploy automatically changes the .NET Framework version of the application pool during the initial compatibility check.

"The JavaScript and CSS support in WebMatrix are on par with Visual Studio and there are some things like code collapse with Ctrl+M+O for CSS, HTML and JS I love. F12 in JavaScript, to go to the function definition, does not work, it launches the site instead. So there are a few things on either side I like better and things I miss. But overall I give WebMatrix an A+ for web application development," said Chris Love, Mobile Development Geek and ASPInsider.

We fixed over 100 bugs, many of them reported on Stackoverflow and user voice, says Vishal Joshi who works for Web Platform & Tools team at Microsoft.

According to Mikhail Arkhipov, Principal Architect at Microsoft, WebMatrix is based on Visual Studio 2010 JavaScript engine and hence does not support certain JavaScript v5 constructs which sometimes may lead to partial loss of intellisense in files that employ JavaScript v5 syntax. Moreover, certain new and advanced features available in Visual Studio 2012 JavaScript engine such as 'goto definition' command are not provided in WebMatrix 2.

Mikhail further points out that WebMatrix does not provide general open MEF-based extensibility model and hence Visual Studio extensions cannot be used.

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