A new Web development software released by Microsoft named WebMatrix has offered an easier alternative for creating websites that are both dynamic and static, with the incorporation with databases and search engine optimization, FTP publishing and more. Microsoft WebMatrix is a very simple tool that is able to integrate seamlessly with Windows Operating System. It permits one-click installation of multiple CMS platforms, including Joomla, Drupal, WordPress and Joomla. This article is not meant to evaluate the new software with any other releases of Adobe Dreamweaver. Microsoft's paragraph ought to summarize what all this is about:
WebMatrix is everything you need to create Web pages using Windows. It comprises IIS Developer Express (a development Web server), ASP.NET (a Web framework) and SQL Server Compact (an embedded database). It streamlines Web site development and makes it easier to build Web sites using popular open-source applications. The code and skills you develop using WebMatrix transition seamlessly to Visual Studio and SQL Server.The beta 2 version currently available is designed to IT outsourcing attract developers, students, and anyone else interested in an easy and effective tool to build Web websites. It allows you to code, test, and then launch websites without having to install databases or Web servers. There are a lot of issues and bugs that Microsoft WebMatrix may encounter as it is in the beta stage. WebMatrix is not able to delete websites you've created. This has been one of the issues I've experienced while using the program. Microsoft has apparently forgotten (as usual!) to integrate this feature into the "My Sites screen, and then made it so that you have to open the whole site before you can remove it. It is important to remember that the process of deleting a website is not a delete operation, and will not erase the older version of your system, but rather, rely on you to do this manually, by going to the Documents > My Web Sites before you delete the relevant folder. First, deleting a folder before beginning the program, will show the folder on the My Sites screen and clicking on it will display an ugly 'Path doesn't exist' error on your screen. Microsoft's workaround suggests you create a dummy folder of the same name. Then, access this from the 'My Sites' screen then right click+delete to remove the site. Another forum suggests a bit of file hacking, whereby you will need to access the configuration file in Documents > IISExpress > config > applicationhost.config and look for the section and delete the relevant lines like the code below that do not exist. I do love the fact that this program lets you easily manage your database and SEO optimise your websites. The program also functions well using its built-in FTP application and Code Editor. Another concern I have is that the CMS systems you install may be incompatible, and will require you to follow the CMS instructions for upgrading before using it. This is evident in the Screen that downloads WordPress from the "Site from Web Gallery" Screen. This is an older version of WordPress (2.9.2 at present), while the current WordPress installation is 3.0.1. Summary It's an extremely useful tool, however, I'm not awestruck by the issues that I've experienced, including occasional program crashes. However, I suppose that this is one of the drawbacks to free beta programs. But, Microsoft WebMatrix is easier to use and I am confident that Microsoft will fix these stupid errors and link to the latest CMS installation files. So is this the best the best Dreamweaver alternative? While it's far from perfect, it has the greatest integration with Windows Operating System environments. It also makes it easy to install different CMS platforms. I recommend download and test this out. Aptana Studio is still my preferred Dreamweaver alternative.