The first free software I am writing about today is called WebMatrix. Sounds familiar? (I suspect that it was named by one of those Matrix fans in MS. I know there are quite a few of those there.:-))
This is the first time that MS has released an IDE for free. OK it is not as good as VS.NET, but really, you didn’t expect MS to give VS.NET free did you?
Well, WebMatrix will get you started if you are new to .NET or ASP.NET. Also if you already know .NET, it can be a cool VS.NET like IDE, which an easy to use page designer in-built. MS is talking a lot about WebMatrix and pushing it as a tool for people who have started with .NET and don’t want to get VS.NET as yet. It does have a GUI very similar to VS.NET and works a lot like VS.NET. So if you do plan to move to VS.NET it becomes very easy for you. (Do you think that is part of MS plan to take over the world..:-))
It also ships with a small webserver that you can use to test your web pages. So you don’t really need IIS installed to develop ASP.NET application. Also did I mention mobile web pages? Yes you do those too with this tool…
Rumor has it that MS is going to really start doing all kinds of stuff around WebMatrix, so if you are new to .NET and need a good IDE, get it.
Personally I would have liked if MS had released the full source code of WebMatrix, so that we can learn from it. The source code of the web server that ships with WebMatrix called Cassina is available, but not the full source code. But then you cannot have everything your way.