A Guide to What’s New for Web Developers – WebMatrix, ASP.NET MVC 3, and More

Last week, a set of new technologies was released: WebMatrix 1.0, ASP.NET MVC 3, IIS 7.5 Express, SQL Server Compact 4.0, Orchard, Web Deploy 2.0, Web Farm Framework 2.0, and NuGet

I’ll briefly introduce each release in this post, but here are some overviews I’d recommend:

WebMatrix 1.0

imageWebMatrix is a free tool for easily creating and publishing websites using Windows.

It includes the underlying tech - web server, database, and framework (more on these next) - and you can create sites quickly from open source applications (see the Windows Web App Gallery) or from scratch. 

And WebMatrix isn’t just for ASP.NET, you can use WebMatrix for PHP applications as well.

Wondering about Visual Studio?  WebMatrix makes it easy to get started making websites, but when you’re ready for the additional features Visual Studio offers, there’s an easy transition there as well.

Learning More:

IIS 7.5 Express

imageIIS 7.5 Express is free, lightweight, self-contained version of the full IIS 7.5, but focuses on developer support.  See the IIS 7.5 Express Readme for details and a comparison.

IIS 7.5 Express is included with WebMatrix, and can be installed separately via the Web Platform Installer or downloaded from the Microsoft Download Center

It can be used side-by-side with full installations of IIS, and can be used instead of the ASP.NET Development Server (aka Cassini) with Visual Studio 2010 SP1 Beta.  Scott Guthrie’s post has the details.

Learning More:

SQL Server Compact 4.0

imageLike IIS 7.5 Express, SQL Server Compact 4.0 is a free and easy-to-use option.  In fact, it supports deployment by simply including the binaries with your web application.

SQL Server Compact 4.0 is included with WebMatrix as the default database, or can be downloaded separately from the Microsoft Download Center.

Learning More:


imageASP.NET MVC 3 offers many new features and improvements.  Here’s a sampling:

  • Razor view engine (also used in WebMatrix)
  • Global action filters
  • New validation attributes (e.g. Compare and Remote)
  • Dependency injection improvements
  • Improved (and extensible) New Project dialog
  • New ActionResult-based classes
  • New support for unobtrusive jQuery Ajax and Validation
  • ViewBag for simpler data passing

Read more about this release in the links below.  Install ASP.NET MVC 3 with the Web Platform Installer or download directly.

Learning More:

Web Farm Framework 2.0 and Web Deploy 2.0

imageWeb Farm Framework (WFF) 2.0 helps to simply management of and deployment to multiple servers.  It includes a central interface for running operations and surveying status of a web farm, and supports PowerShell.  Web Deploy 2.0 has been improved to support IIS Express and is also used by WebMatrix.

You can download WFF via the Web Platform Installer, or from the Microsoft Download CenterWeb Deploy 2.0 is available here.

Learning More:


imageNuGet is an extension for Visual Studio (it also works within WebMatrix) that helps you discover and download open source packages for use in your applications. It offers a PowerShell-based console window and a dialog-based UI as well.

Choose a package you’d like to use and NuGet will download it and make any required changes to your project (e.g. references and config changes) so you can start using it.

NuGet is included with ASP.NET MVC 3, and can be downloaded in Visual Studio 2010 using the Extension Manager the Web Platform Installer or from CodePlex.

Learning More:


imageOrchard is a free, open-source Content Management System (CMS) built on ASP.NET.  It’s easy to extend with modules and themes, whether your own or from the Orchard gallery.  There’s an active community as well.

You can install Orchard with the Web Platform Installer or download binaries or source directly.

Learning More:


Enjoy delving into these new releases!


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