You may remember this blog post about WebMatrix, Windows Azure Web Sites and PHP back in June. Well, we’re excited that WebMatrix 2 just shipped! This post covers a quick highlight of the top features, especially the integration with Windows Azure.
WebMatrix is a lightweight web development tool that lets you quickly install and publish popular open source applications or built-in templates. It bundles a web server, database engines, top programming languages and publishing capabilities into one tool – whether you use ASP.NET, PHP, Node.js or HTML5.
Here are just a few of the top features we’ve added since V1:
- Extensibility model lets you write your own plug-ins or use community-built ones
- Extremely fast install of open source apps such as Joomla!, WordPress, Drupal, DotNetNuke and Umbraco
- New built-in templates for PHP, Node.js and HTML5, and mobile support for all templates
- Intellisense (code completion) for major languages, including Razor, C#, VB, PHP, Node.js, HTML5, CSS3 and Jquery
- Application-specific code completion for top apps like Umbraco, WordPress and Joomla!
- Simple UI to install what you need from thousands of NuGet packages
- Ability to preview your site using top mobile emulators
- Remote view to make quick edits to files on live sites
But let’s talk about Windows Azure integration specifically.
Download to WebMatrix
In the previous post, we covered how to create a new Drupal site using the app gallery in Windows Azure. When you have a live website running in Windows Azure, you can then click on the WebMatrix button to download it to your local computer automatically.
On download, WebMatrix analyzes the site and will automatically install any dependencies needed. But one thing we didn’t cover was what happens if the site is empty. In this case, WebMatrix will prompt you to either open the empty site (maybe you want to copy or create your own files) or install a template or open source app.
Publish to Windows Azure
We’ve also simplified the process of publishing a local site from WebMatrix. If you already have a website, you can click “Import publish profile”. If you don’t, you can click “Get started with Windows Azure” and go through the sign-up process.
Publish Databases and More
For publishing, WebMatrix can use Web Deploy under the covers. This allows us to do a bit more than typical publishing:
- Publish the entire database (schema and data)
- Publish only changed files, instead of the entire site
- During the initial compatibility check, automatically change the .NET Framework version of your application pool
And that’s just some of the highlights! You can learn all about WebMatrix at www.webmatrix.com. If you are already using Windows Azure Web Sites, you can simply click the WebMatrix button in your dashboard or you can install WebMatrix from here.