Introducing Microsoft WebMatrix – #bookreview

Introducing Microsoft WebMatrix
By Laurence Moroney
(Microsoft Press, $39.99, paperback)

Introducing Microsoft WebMatrix is aimed (1) at readers who may be first-time web developers and (2) at readers who want to learn how to build active web pages or learn how to customize open source web applications to their own needs.

WebMatrix is a free, downloadable web development “solution” from Microsoft that promises to prove “all the tools you need for server-side programming.”

Lawrence Moroney’s book illustrates the use of templates, cascading style sheets (CSS), helper libraries and other tools in WebMatrix. His goal is to help show you how to build and customize data-driven websites using Microsoft’s new web development product.

He provides steps and illustrations that show how to add email, video, web forms and other features to a site, using WebMatrix.  He includes tips and steps for using the product’s helper libraries to expand a site’s reach via social media such as Twitter, StumbleUpon and LinkedIn, as well as Xbox Gamercards.  

The book, written during WebMatrix’s beta,  is a good, compact and convenient introductory tutorial.

However, to keep up with the newest WebMatrix changes and to fill in some knowledge gaps, you will also need to refer to online sources such as Microsoft’s ASP.NET site, the WebMatrix site and the “Web Development 101″ pages for WebMatrix, while following the processes in this book.

Certain requirements must be met to use Microsoft WebMatrix.

1.  The supported operating systems are: Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows Vista SP1, Sindows XP SP2+, Windows Server 2003 SP1+, Windows Server 2008, and Windows Server 2008 R2.

2. An Internet connection is needed to install WebMatrix  via the Web Platform Installer.

3. To run the Web Platform Installer on your computer, you must have administrator privileges.

Code samples can be downloaded for all of the projects in the book.

The book’s chapter lineup gives a good view of its coverage range.

  • Introduction
  • Chapter 1: Introducing WebMatrix
  • Chapter 2: A Tour of WebMatrix
  • Chapter 3: Programming with WebMatrix
  • Chapter 4: Using Images in WebMatrix
  • Chapter 5: Using Video in WebMatrix
  • Chapter 6: Forms and Controls
  • Chapter 7: Databases in WebMatrix
  • Chapter 8: Exposing Your Site Through Social Networking
  • Chapter 9: Adding Email to Your Site
  • Chapter 10: Building a Simple Web Application: Styles, Layout, and Templates
  • Chapter 11: Building a Simple Web Application: Using Data
  • Chapter 12: WebMatrix and Facebook
  • Chapter 13: WebMatrix and PayPal
  • Chapter 14: Building Your Own Web Helpers
  • Chapter 15: Deploying Your Site
  • Chapter 16: WordPress, WebMatrix, and PHP
  • Appendix A:  WebMatrix Programming Basics
  • Index (11 pages)

The author, Laurence Moroney, is a “Senior Technology Evangelist” at Microsoft. He has more than 10 years of experience in software development and implementation, and has written numerous articles and books.

Moroney’s new book is written in clear, straightforward style and contains ample steps, code samples and screenshots to help simplify the process of learning how to get comfortable with Microsoft WebMatrix.

But keep in mind that it is truly an “Introduction,” a good how-guidebook to get you started, not a comprehensive handbook containing everything you will need to know.

Si Dunn

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