Microsoft Website Builder or WebMatrix 3 is a free, lightweight, cloud-connected website builder that operates as a web development application for Windows. The builder enables developers to create sites using ready, built-in templates or popular open-source applications. It’s vital to note that this builder is mainly targeted at professionals who create websites for their clients (as opposed to the builders that target the end user).
The purpose of Webmatrix 3 is to provide web developers with coding, customization and publishing capabilities all in one place. The platform was released in 2011, and the latest version of WebMatrix was made available on May 1, 2013. Please note, that Microsoft will stop support WebMatrix on 1-st of November 2017. Let’s see how this platform can help you in creating websites using different modern technologies.
1. Ease of Use
WebMatrix has a very user-friendly interface, smart guides and many other cool things as for a web development app. But of course, it’s not as simple and intuitive as DIY, code-free online website builders. It’s great, but for a particular group of customers. It’s much like a standard site builder, but for pros – it provides a sophisticated development environment for your projects that are developed in different programming languages, so that you don’t have to get separate programs.
While most DIY site builders are in-browser softwares that can be reached from any device through the sign-up form, Webmatrix is a downloadable application.
2. Feature Set and Flexibility
The builder gathers a lot of facilities to help developers build websites in a faster and easier way, specifically, it allows to:
- Rather than choosing to build a website from scratch, you can use an existing framework – WebMatrix includes support for PHP frameworks including WordPress and Drupal, among others. By choosing the WordPress framework, for instance, WebMatrix will install and configure a full-fledged WordPress website running locally. Once configured, you can put your site together on your computer and then upload it to a compatible host using Microsoft’s Web Deploy technology. You can use this possibility to create WordPress sites for developing plugins and themes, or testing new code before deploying to your live website.
- Easily install popular web apps, customize them and publish them quickly to the web.
- Directly deploy your websites to Windows Azure, as well as export them from Azure to your PC. In case of team-based projects, you can export your works to your Azure server and access them from any computer, whenever required.
- Create websites optimized for mobile viewing. Webmatrix provides several integrated features that ease this task for developers: mobile-friendly templates; device emulators; code completion for jQuery mobile and more.
- Plug into GitHub, CodePlex, and Team Foundation Service to start sharing your code with the world.
- Use TFS for any project in the cloud, or on site.
- Edit your sites remotely.
- Find extensions that add even more functionality to Webmatrix or create your own – the platform supports writing extensions that extend its core functionality. There’s a library of approved extensions.
Websites built on WebMatrix aren’t tied to any particular hosting provider – you’re free to publish them wherever you want. For better performance, WebMatrix offers a list of their partners where you can sign up for a free hosting account. You can also choose from many other compelling hosting solutions at Microsoft Hosting Gallery.
Technically, the builder is free. You’ll only have to pay your monthly hosting fee and yearly domain name fee when the website is published.
WebMatrix is an all-in-one site builder that provides users with coding, scaling and publishing capabilities all in one place. It also offers tips for SEO and provides SEO reports. It’s available for download in 9 languages. It’s more a professional tool, so if you’re looking for a completely code-free website builder with a drag-and-drop interface, WebMatrix isn’t the best pick.