Introduction to WebMatrix Beta – A New, Free Tool for Website Development

imageWhat is WebMatrix?

WebMatrix is a free tool that features a complete stack (web server, database, programming) for web development. It’s lightweight, installs quickly, and has been designed to make things easy.


Building a Site

Want to build your site using an open source application like a blog engine, eCommerce site, or photo gallery?  Use the Site from Web Gallery option to selecting from a number of open-source applications – WordPress, DotNetNuke, Joomla!, and others.  These include both ASP.NET (tutorial here) and PHP (tutorial here) based applications.

If that application has dependencies that aren’t installed, WebMatrix will help install and configure what you need. 


Prefer to create things yourself?  Use the Site From Template option and choose from “Empty Site” or one of the other starter templates.


Either way, you’ll then be able to customize your site using the integrated tools, organized into four WorkspacesSite for overall tools, settings and request details, Files to view and modify your site, Database to work with your data, and Reports including tools for Search Engine Optimization (SEO).


WebMatrix takes care of installing what you need (in this case, IIS Developer Express and SQL Server Compact Edition), so go ahead and click the Run button to test your application using your choice of browsers.  Here’s a shot of the “Bakery” template using the Site from Template option.


Need to change your markup, code, stylesheets, etc.?  The editor’s there as well, in the File workspace.


Wondering what that syntax and .CSHTML file extension in the example are?  It’s called ASP.NET “Razor”, and Scott Guthrie introduces Razor here. There’s also a Razor tutorial on

When you’re ready to deploy, use the included publishing tools and you’ll find guidance for finding hosting as well.

imageGet WebMatrix

Ready to take a look?  You can learn more and download it from:

To download WebMatrix, you can use the Beta of the Web Platform Installer 3 (which makes it easy to install a lot of things, not just WebMatrix).

Learn More

Here are some good resources for learning more about WebMatrix:

imageHave Something to Say?

It’s a Beta, and the WebMatrix team would love to hear from you, so please share your thoughts via the Microsoft Connect site.