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Microsoft Releases WebMatrix 3

Microsoft has released WebMatrix 3, its lightweight development tool for quickly building Web sites. The key features of the new version are Windows Azure integration, source control with Git and Team Foundation Services (TFS), and remote editing.

Microsoft's Scott Guthrie made the announcement on his blog. There was apparently some confusion on the official release date of WebMatrix 3; a speaker at the VSLive! conference in March said it would debut on April 4, and ZDNet's Mary Jo Foley reported that it was available on April 3 (she had updated that post, listing the release date as April 4 as well). But whatever the cause of the delay, it's available now.

Windows Azure integration is getting the lion's share of the publicity. When logged in to WebMatrix 3 through a Microsoft account, the user gets an option to build up to 10 sites for free, or migrate existing sites to Azure (WebMatrix itself is free as well).

Sites can be built from templates like ASP.NET, Node.js, PHP or HTML5. Another option, provided through the WebMatrix UI, is to use third-party tools like WordPress, DotNetNuke, Drupal and Joomla. Once the Web site's up, it can be edited either on Azure or locally, and with third-party tools or Microsoft tools; for example, IntelliSense support is available for certain types of code.

WebMatrix also provides multiple types of version control. A Web site can be opened from the Git repository, Microsoft's own TFS (the Web-enabled version of Team Foundation Server) or CodePlex. Guthrie said that version control was "one of the most requested features" in WebMatrix 2, and it's been extended in version 3.

In an earlier story on the forthcoming release, Instructor and WebMatrix expert Mark Rosenberg explained the value he sees in the product:

"The idea is to get a Web site up and running as simply as possible ... One of the problems that I always have in Visual Studio is … 'I don't have the prerequisites: I need to install PHP to make it work, I need to do this or that and I install PHP, and then it doesn't work. WebMatrix takes care of all those problems for you. If you don't have PHP installed, and you've picked a PHP-based Web site, it installs PHP. It actually takes care of installing everything you need on your machine."

WebMatrix 3 is available here.

Posted by Keith Ward on 05/02/2013

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