Microsoft just launched a free, lightweight development tool called WebMatrix which is designed to make Web development easy for professional developers. It installs a Web server (IIS Developer Express), a database (SQL Server Compact) and a Web framework (ASP.NET) in one 15 MB package (or 50 MB if you don’t already have .NET 4 installed), allowing you to code, test and deploy both ASP.NET and PHP applications side-by-side.
The interface WebMatrix displays when you launch it the first time is a simple wizard-based welcome screen that lets you pick whether you want to create a site from the Web Gallery, a template (several are included) or a “site from folder.” This may be too simple for advanced developers, but that’s the point. WebMatrix is intended for “web agencies, small development teams within SMBs, hobbyists, and students,” writes Microsoft’s Laurence Moroney on The Officical Microsoft Web Platform Team Blog. Moroney also details how to get started with the tool and do other nifty things, like displaying a Twitter feed, for example.
To download WebMatrix now, you can do so from here. (But note the “beta” label, OK?)