Microsoft today released a beta version of WebMatrix, a free tool for "building, customizing and deploying websites in one common, straightforward experience." WebMatrix targets developers of all skill sets, and can be downloaded today at www.microsoft.com/web/webmatrix.

WebMatrix is a tool that includes the following:

  • Web server: IIS Developer Express is a lightweight server that helps developers build and test ASP.NET sites and applications and works with Visual Studio 2010, Visual Web Developer 2010 Express, and now WebMatrix.
  • Database: SQL Server Compact Edition 4 is a free, embedded, database engine that enables easy database storage. It works with existing .NET-based data APIs and ASP.NET Web applications.
  • Programming Framework: ASP.NET provides developers a faster way to build standards-based websites with its syntaxes and built-in helpers, which both simplify the use of ASP.NET to perform increasingly complex and common tasks, such as connecting to a database, displaying a Twitter feed, or embedding a video.

For more info, check out Scott Guthrie's blog post:

This tool is free, provides core coding and database support, integrates with an open source web application gallery, and includes support to easily publish/deploy sites and applications to web hosting providers.

WebMatrix is a 15MB download (50MB if you don’t have .NET 4 installed) and is quick to install.

The 15MB download includes a lightweight development tool, IIS Express, SQL Compact Edition, and a set of ASP.NET extensions that enable you to build standalone ASP.NET Pages using the new Razor syntax, as well as a set of easy to use database and HTML helpers for performing common web-tasks.  WebMatrix can be installed side-by-side with Visual Studio 2010 and Visual Web Developer 2010 Express.

Here's a shot: