Microsoft Ships .Net Tool Beta

Web developers who create sites by using Microsoft's ASP .Net script language have a new development tool to try.

Web developers who create sites by using Microsofts ASP .Net script language have a new development tool to try.

Microsoft ASP .Net Web Matrix fills out the companys developer product line nicely because it remains similar to Visual Studio .Net while offering a simpler set of options that focus just on ASP .Net development for Web browser and mobile clients.

Web Matrix is free, so it is easy to distribute to a large group of Web site maintainers.

Web Matrix provides three edit views—graphical, HTML and server-side code—and I had the option of having its wizards generate code in either Visual Basic .Net or C#.

It can automatically generate pages with data-bound controls, security log-in pages, and pages for mobile phones and other small devices (Microsofts Mobile Internet Toolkit has to be installed for the mobile features to work).

Web Matrix also supports ASP .Nets Web services features and can generate proxy classes from a Web Services Description Language file.

However, it lacks a number of Visual Studio .Net features that many developers will miss. At the top of the list for me is statement and method name completion. Once Id gotten used to this in other tools, its hard to go back to typing everything.

Web Matrix also lacks the concept of a project with interfile dependencies and doesnt have integration with source code control systems.

A built-in development Web server permits local testing of projects.

The product can be extended through an online gallery of add-ins.

ASP .Net Web Matrix (now available in a Technology Preview version) can be downloaded from