WebMatrix 2 beta – First Impressions

I surprised myself by becoming quite a fan of WebMatrix, so I was keen to give the new WebMatrix2 beta a go and see how it shapes up.

I’ve found WebMatrix very easy to use and surprisingly robust. It gave me a very easy way to install and run my CMS websites locally and then to publish them, and also to resync my local environment to the published one. In particular note it allows publishing of an SQL database with just a tick of a box (once the connection string has been entered).

Aside from that it gives a handy but pretty basic interface to the local database.

WebMatrix 2 at first glance looks very similar but does have some very useful extras.

There is an all-new remote view section which allows you to see all your remote files within their file structure and to edit certain files, such as CSS and HTML files. This is not just a built-in text editor. It recognises syntax, uses syntax coloring and has inteli-sense like auto completion.

This is very useful, but is still a bit buggy. I found some of the pop-up help displaying on top of other pop-up help (although when I tried to reproduce that to take a snapshot it all worked properly).

It all seems to work reasonably fast too. I’m using it on my netbook and not having any troubles.

There is also a new galleries section that allows you to download and install extensions. There are only a handful so far but presumably more will become available. Of most interest to me is the image optimizer which reduces image file size and is very easy to use.

The database support has been expanded, adding support for stored procedures and increased support for table definitions.

A feature that particularly interests me is the extensibility framework. Unfortunately, after following the instructions to download and create a new extension project I am getting a compile error, so I’ve yet to investigate this feature.

Its still as easy as ever to create a new Website using the WebGallery or a template.

Going back to my opening statement, when I first installed the original WebMatrix I remember thinking “I’m not going to like this”. Its one of those easy to use but powerful programs, which generally means there’s a lot going on behind the scenes that you’re unaware of. As a developer, I generally like to know exactly what’s going on so that if it should go wrong I can work out why and fix it.

The easy to use but powerful packages are great while they are working but can cost a lot of valuable time if something goes wrong.

So far I’ve been pleasantly surprised with WebMatrix and I like what I see so far in the WebMatrix2 beta. Unlike many betas, I’m not going to unload this and wait for the full release. Instead I’ll continue to make use of its extra functionality and see if I can get that extension project building …

If you have any questions or queries on this or similar topics, you are welcome to post a comment, ask a question in the Arvixe MojoPortal Forum or email me.

I suggest you also refer to the excellent MojoPortal documentation and videos.

Looking for quality mojoPortal Hosting? Look no further than Arvixe Web Hosting.

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3 Comments on WebMatrix 2 beta – First Impressions

  1. Bruno says:

    Hi there;

    I see that you were getting “….., after following the instructions to download and create a new extension project I am getting a compile error, so I’ve yet to investigate this feature.”

    Did you manage to work it out? I get that error also, and dont know how to get around it.

    thanks !

    Bruno

  2. Ian McIntosh Ian says:

    Hi Bruno,
    I must apologise for not picking up your post earlier – feel free to nudge me with an email if I do that again!

    I did get around that problem with a little help from the WebMatrix forum. I’ll see if I can dig out the response I had and repost it here.

  3. Ian McIntosh Ian says:

    OK, found that forum post here http://forums.iis.net/t/1181958.aspx

    The error I got was ‘WebMatrix’ does not exist in the namespace ‘Microsoft’

    the solution

    double check the project references and add it from Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Web Matrix\Microsoft.WebMatrix.Extensibility.dll

    nb: I found ‘references’ on the Solution Navigator tab, right clicked on ‘references’, selected ‘Add reference’, selected assemblies | extensions, clicked on browse, navigated to the file mentioned above.

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