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WebMatrix vs Visual Studio

Posted on 2/21/2011

Recently I came across this web development tool called WebMatrix. WebMatrix is the latest release of a web development and deployment tool by Microsoft. The first thought that came into my mind was, how is this compared to Visual Studio? I googled some results but they are all dated back to 2005. So how does the WebMatrix in 2011 differ from the Visual Studio? Today we're going to take a look at the major differences between the two.

WebMatrix Screenshot

Despite what Microsoft claims about its IDE, I won't say one can "Create Websites" with WebMatrix. It is more of a website deployment tool with minor editing capabilities. You'll instantly notice the nice Microsoft Office style menu bar at the top, yet I struggled to find a Design View button and couldn't find any. There is Intellisense, but it only works in html codes. In other words, despite supporting ASP.NET webpages, WebMatrix cannot understand C# code. There is also a database management feature, but it is very basic. You can, of course, create tables, alter columns, select data etc., but don't expect anything close to the Database Explorer in Visual Studio. Unless you're doing some simple html editing, WebMatrix is just not the right tool to write your codes and create a new website.

What WebMatrix is designed for is deploy websitse that are built using templates, for example WordPress and Joomla. These are open-source platforms and you can feel free to change or optimize the code you want. For example I always change the web.config file to improve my sites' performance. The editing function is there just in case you want to make small changes to anything.

There ARE features that WebMatrix has but Visual Studio doesn't have, at least not in the Express edition. You can monitor incoming HTTP requests, and see which ones cause errors. There is also a Report function, where you can analyze your site based on performance consideration or SEO (Search Engine Optimization) issues. These are nothing very professional obviously, but it does provide a good start.

WebMatrix Screenshot

So what is WebMatrix good for? Deploying websites. Today there are many open source websites out there, both PHP and ASP.NET. If you want to setup a forum or wiki on your site for example, why not check out those templates? On the other hand, Visual Studio is good for coding and development. WebMatrix cannot compile assemblies like Visual Studio. For most of us who focus on writing codes, Visual Studio is our choice.

The list below summerizes the differences between WebMatrix and Visual Studio:

WebMatrix


Visual Studio


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Comments

Interesante articulo amigo en resumen tengo que aprender las 02 tecnologias y ver si algún día microsoft convierte a webmatrix como extensión de visual studio net........salud

by Jos Becerra on 5/5/2012


nice comparison i want to build a survey builder web application and also a desktop application as it is my project assigned to me by my university. i dont know from where to start, can any one help me?

by Ehtisham on 12/22/2012


This is the key answer of my question regarding what to chose for Development and Website Template. Appreciate your article, very helpful to understand. Thank you, keep sharing knowledge

by gmkishor on 2/14/2013


Thanks for the clear and precise explanations. This was the first site that I viewed in my search results and thankfully my question is answered. Loved the "To-the-point" comparison. Thank you.

by Mun48 on 2/17/2013


I have VS 2012 express and WebMatrix; VS is a good editor, but there are some files and languages that WebMatrix can display better.

by rookie1024 on 3/8/2013


Very nice comparison, thank you!!

by Hasan Anjum on 4/3/2013


Thank You Boss...

by sarang on 4/16/2013


Good one!!! Thanks for the post

by KSK123 on 9/11/2013


Very helpful, Thank you :)

by AhmadHamed on 11/14/2013

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