Microsoft Upgrades Web Development Offerings

New offerings include an upgraded ASP.Net Web Matrix tool, the official release of the company's ASP.Net Starter Kits and a new ASP.Net Hosting program.

Microsoft updated some of its Web development offerings Monday, with an upgraded ASP.Net Web Matrix tool, the official release of the companys ASP.Net Starter Kits and a new ASP.Net Hosting program.

Shawn Nandi, product manager for Microsofts ASP.Net, said the company has updated its Web Matrix application development tool for ASP.Net to reflect developer feedback for the year-old tool. Nandi said new features in the tool include support for Microsoft Access databases and support for Microsofts J# Java-based development environment.

"We had two goals with Web Matrix," Nandi said. "To have a quick and easy way to test drive ASP.Net and to get feedback on the next version of Visual Studio."

Nandi said support for Access databases was the primary request from developers using the free Web matrix development tool. The academic community requested Java support, he said. Other enhancements include improved table editing and user-control rendering.

"The most popular features that people like in Web Matrix will appear in the next version of Visual Studio," Nandi said.

Microsoft first announced the ASP.Net Starter Kits at VSLive in San Francisco in February. That was the beta of the kits, which cover five areas: time tracking, reports, community, commerce and portals.

Microsoft announced the formal release of the kits Monday. Essentially, the kits are sample applications including source code. Enhancements include improvements to the community starter kit including rich HTML content editing and cross-community content replication, Nandi said.

In addition, Microsoft announced two Web resources for developers: a new ASP.Net hosting program—found at—where developers can go to find hosters Microsoft is working with to enable developers to deploy their applications on the Internet.

"People keep asking where they can find hosting," Nandi said. "Its one of the most common questions we get."

The second service is the MSDN ASP.Net Developer Center, which "provides a central spot for developers" to go to for information about ASP.Net, Nandi said.