Friday, February 10, 2012

What is worth noting in WebMatrix 2

If I have to summarize in what is worth noting in WebMatrix 2 so far, here is how I would like to put it:

Inspiring EnvironmentWeb development is an inspiring task and I believe having an inspiring environment for it is important.  In WebMatrix we have always aspired to give web developers a polished and fresh environment to achieve mundane tasks.   Some interesting things worth noting in WebMatrix 2 from this standpoint are:

  • App Install Workflow – We aspired to ask almost zero questions when you install an open source app like WordPress or Joomla.  We make the default choices for you and yeah we know that some of you want full control so we will enable that as well.


  • Color Picker – Yeah you would think that what is the big deal about a CSS color picker but we rejected the traditional design you see every other place, we wanted it to be more natural to use and what we have now is something which has tons of tiny details like showing colors which your site already uses, switching from hex to RGBA, color picking from any other window open on your machine and doing all this without using a mouse.  I am really proud of what we have built you should for sure check it out.


  • DB Manager – We made it beautiful, yet super functional, WebMatrix 1 design was cool but this one is like artic cool Smile
  •  Remote View of Local site – In WebMatrix 2 we allow you to flip your views between local and remote to seamlessly troubleshoot server issues. Note the ribbon tabs “Home” == Local, “Remote” == Remote Smile


  •  Work Remotely – What if you you are in a hotel and don’t have your dev box? You know WebMatrix installs blazing fast, so now it does not matter where you are and which machine you are using you can simply download & setup WebMatrix in just 2 minutes and open your site remotely.  You will still get the colorization that you are use to and without making any local copies of your site you can get quick fixes done.

Community Comfort – As web developers we know how many times we depend upon the community to find solutions to everyday issues.  In WebMatrix 2 we took the time and energy to open a window into the web community right from within WebMatrix 2.  So now you will see:

  • Deep engagement with web apps Community – We work even more closely with many OSS apps founders like WordPress, Joomla, Orchard, Drupal, DNN, Umbraco, Kentico and many others.  We have gathered their feedback and incorporated a lot of it into WebMatrix, as a result WebMatrix now looks like it is build for that particular app.
  • Site Dashborad -  If you open many apps in WebMatrix 2, you will immediately find getting started, tutorial, forums etc. links for each app right on the site dashboard.  If you are starting your development in Joomla or Umbraco, you will be almost on a self guided learning tour!


  • App Specific Code Completion – We have worked specifically to give you code completion for specific apps when you are developing within it.  E.g. you can now see WordPress functions when you are editing WordPress content files.


  • NuGet – imageYou might be aware that NuGet is a way to pick up reusable pieces of code packaged into a format called NuGet package.  WebMatrix exposes a NuGet gallery which now allows you to directly consume this community content.  Just for context there are 4555 unique packages as of today on NuGet gallery with an average (my guessitmate) of 150 packages getting added daily.
  • Extension Gallery – We also wanted community to come in an add functionality to WebMatrix itself so that the tool can organically grow to suite needs of you all.  We know that investing in the extensibility will allow us to create more impact than we can create ourselves.  Now we are also working on Extension gallery where all the extension that community will create can be hosted.
  • Learning Community – We all have grown to love sites like Pluralsight, Learnable, AppendTo.  We worked with them and got that context sensitive learning content inside the product.  Now you can simply hit F1 wherever you are and it is likely that you will and up getting a bunch of tutorial for the things you are looking for.


  • Hosting Community – We have always been super hosting friendly and even this time around we are working with the hosting community members like  Applied Innovation, DiscountASP.NET, Awesome.NET, CBeyond & Citanium to give you free hosting offers to try out your site in live environment


Effortlessly Modern – Keeping up with fast moving modern web is not as easy as it should be, so we spent time to make sure you get all the support to easily keep up with the latest standards.  To that effect we have bunch of new features like:

  • Awesome templates – We have built in templates which are filled with best practices, you can feel free to steal from them or start from them as you choose.


  • Intellisense everywhere – We have intellisense (aka code completion) everywhere in the product.  It does not matter whether you want to use HTML5,  CSS3, jQuery, jQuery mobile, PHP, ASP.NET/C#/VB or JavaScript, we will have you covered.


  • Facebook | Twitter | oAuth – We understand that not everyone wants their users to go through elaborate sign up process so now for ASP.NET Razor we have Facebook/Twitter auth built in.  Just un-comment some code, give you app Id, consumer secret and you are all set.


I could type more but for now let you explore the product yourself.  You can download it from  Also recently I had an opportunity to get on WebCamps TV and talk a little bit about WebMatrix 2 and some of the above improvements in action..

Here is the quick 14 mins video, hope you enjoy it.

Btw, this product is created for you, the modern web developer and we actively want to hear from you.  That is the reason why in every site dashboard within WebMatrix there is a way to provide feedback about your experience.  If you have thoughts/comments/feedback do not hesitate to write here or on our UserVoice.

Thanks for reading.

– Vishal