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The Forrest Gump guide to the new WebMatrix.

Recruit Officer: Have you given any thought to your future, son?
Forrest Gump: “Thought”?

Well, it appears that Microsoft has given some though to theirs with the new WebMatrix Beta.

What is WebMatrix?

WebMatrix gives you everything that you need to build Web sites using Windows. You download a small installer and then you can select which tools to install. I already have Expression Blend 4 and VS2010 Pro, so I’m only going to take WebMatrix and a DB (MSSQL SRV 08 R2 Express and leave defaults for everything else).

Tell me the truth who is it for? This depends on your skill set, its definitely for people that want to start a small web site that has little experience or none with development. I would say that if you are familiar with IIS, VS, ASP.NET, SQL 08 R2 then you may want to pass. If you are not familiar with those terms then Microsoft made your life much much easier.

Did Microsoft get it right?
This time I must say “Job well done”. The main reasons are listed below:

  1. Starts you out with Open-Source Software (like DotNetNuke)
  2. Database made simple, if you don’t know what a relational database is then they have you covered.
  3. Site Publishing that is just a few clicks from deployment.
  4. A workspace that helps you focus on different areas of your WebSite.
  5. Lots of videos, code samples (if you even want to get into code) are already available to download.


Links: WebMaxtrix Beta Official Page and Download link.

The Install:

This is the first screen after launching the Web Platform Installer.

After clicking on Install WebMatrix:

It will install MySQL (if you take defaults) and you will need to supply a root PW.

Installation is in process:

The install is complete.

Now that the install is over, lets make a webpage using the template:

I’m going to use the Starter Site template.

This is the workspace they keep talking about:

I’m going to edit the “About Page” on my site and add some contact info. Click Files –> About.cshtml and edit the text in between the <p> and </p>

Now click Run and you will the following page in your webbrowser.

Now that the site is “built”, lets publish it. But first we need a host.

Hosting the app.

I used Applied Innovations because I have a little history with them. Basically you get free hosting until 12/31/10 at midnight to try out your app. I signed up for a free account because it did not require a credit card and only took a few minutes.

After you get your email, enter the info provided in the email in the boxes below.

Microsoft and Applied Innovations really nailed it with this one. The data that appears in the email matches the order the information is asked on the Publishing settings. How simple is that?

Now click Publish, if you get this error:

Then log into your website and change the ASP.NET version to 4.0 (Integrated PipeLine)

Hit publish again and it should copy all of your files to the web server including dll, etc that is needed to run your application. Once this is complete you can navigate to your new app on the web!

This article is part of the GWB Archives. Original Author: Michael Crump

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