Tomorrow Microsoft will release WebMatrix, a free tool to help non-developers build a website

Tomorrow Microsoft will release WebMatrix, a free tool to help non-developers build a website

Microsoft will tomorrow release the full version of a new tool called WebMatrix that will help people “of all skill levels easily create, customize and publish websites to the Internet.” It should go live tonight at midnight Pacific Time.

Microsoft calls the move part of its “web platform vision.” The product itself provides “everything you need to build websites using Windows.” The team behind WebMatrix is calls it “small, simple, and seamless.”

The product is a a combination of a development server (IIS Express), ASP.NET, and the embedded database SQL Server Compact. WebMatrix also provides “a database editor, Web site and server management, search optimization, FTP publishing.”

To manage hosting, Microsoft has partnered with a number of companies to provide negotiated-rate hosting for WebMatrix users. Of course, if you want to use your own hosting, you can.

Why would Microsoft give so much away for free? The answer is simple: upselling. Microsoft wants people to use SQL Sever and Visual Studio, two popular Microsoft development products. Get people into the world of developing using Windows, Microsoft seems to be thinking, and they won’t leave later, which means big software sales down the road. The WebMatrix team was demure when I mentioned the upsell point, stressing that they aren’t focused on it as a goal.

People often comment on how long-range Microsoft’s vision is, and how deep its patience. WebMatrix fits well into those truths.

There is one last element of WebMatrix that caught our eye: open source. As part of the tool set, Microsoft has made available a number of open source web applications such as WordPress, Joomla, Umbraco, DotNetNuke, and Orchard. Nice touch on top of a free product, right?

If you have ever thought about coding, we recommend that you check this out.

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