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Markus on Development and Publishing

This is Markus Egger's professional blog, which covers topics such as development, publishing, and business in general. As the publisher of CoDe and CoDe Focus magazines, and as the President and Chief Software Architect of EPS Software Corp., Markus shares his insights and opinions on this blog.

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Thursday, January 13, 2011
WebMatrix Released to Web

Microsoft is releasing the new WebMatrix IDE to the web at CodeMash (www.codemash.com) today. For all the details and downloads, visit http://web.ms/enter or www.Microsoft.com/web/webmatrix.

WebMatrix is an interesting project/product, IMO. It aims to make web development much easier on the Microsoft platform. Web development is not just the domain of experts anymore who builds large and complex web applications and web sites. Instead, there are many things on the web that can be created by anyone. Besides, not every web project done by a professional needs to be made complex and difficult. These are the scenarios Web Matrix aims for. It is not a tool for every need (and neither is any other tool, for that matter), but it serves a very specific purpose.

I often like to look at the development landscape as a whole, and you can imagine it on a graph that plots difficulty/freedom (2 things that are often closely related) and flexibility and supported deployment scenarios on the two axis. Kinda like this:

Now this is not meant to be a scientific chart, and I am sure lots of people have opinions as to why certain bubbles should be in a slightly different place on the chart, and those people are probably right. But that is not the point of this chart. The point is the overall idea it communicates. For instance, if you take Access, it is a tool that gives you a lot less control than tools like Visual Studio. Obviously, you will not build XNA apps in Access for instance. Access has a defined purpose. It also has well defined deployment scenarios. You are not deploying an Access app to an iPhone for instance. And all that is OK. It doesn’t make Access a lesser product. It just defines it’s target differently. So most places on this diagram are just as desirable as others (except perhaps the top/left… although even there are good reasons to be there, such as if you want to do iPad development).

Tools like Visual Studio .NET and Java are in the top/right corner. Awesome flexibility in both freedom/sophistication and supported deployment scenarios. That is great for a lot of things. But here’s the thing. Until recently, Microsoft did not have anything for the bottom/right area of the chart: Scenarios that fit an 80% or 90% need (such as the typical web site/app) that are easy and super-productive to use at the expense of control over every tiny detail.

WebMatrix (and also LightSwitch) fit neatly into that part of the chart (with exact positions up to personal preference). And better yet: If you need the flexibility to combine the easy of these tools with the power of Visual Studio, you can! And thus you are easily elevated further up in the chart. It is the best of both worlds!

So check out WebMatrix! It is an easy and productive web development tool for the masses. It supports the usual Microsoft technologies. It also supports tons of open source offerings and other frameworks and technologies, from PHP to Wordpress to Joomla, DotNetNuke, Umbraco, and others.



Posted @ 6:33 AM by Egger, Markus (markus@code-magazine.com) -
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