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Book Review: Introducing Microsoft WebMatrix
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by Anand Narayanaswamy
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Introduction

Visual Studio 2010 is a premier development environment used to develop powerful .NET and ASP.NET based applications. However, developers with low budget may not be able to purchase Visual Studio. Microsoft WebMatrix is an excellent alternative to Visual Studio 2010, which is available free of cost from Microsoft and it has immense possibilities if employed properly.  Moreover, it has the ability to deploy PHP based applications and WordPress based sites.

In order to work with WebMatrix, you can either learn its usage on your own or make use of books. Introducing Microsoft WebMatrix by Laurence Moroney is one of the latest titles published by Microsoft. The book is divided into 16 chapters which examine all the concepts related to the functionality of the tool.

Inside Introducing Microsoft WebMatrix

While Chapter 1 provides a basic introduction to WebMatrix including the steps required to install the tool, Chapter 2 examines the working of the tool with the help of various scenarios including the usage of Web Application Gallery. The author demonstrates the installation procedure of DotNetBlogEngine, which I hope will be useful for beginners.

In Chapter 3, you will learn the steps required to work with server-side programming, creation of a page that uses server-side code and other programming related aspects.

Chapters 4 & 5 examine the usage of Images and Videos in WebMatrix.  You will learn the steps required to create thumbnails and links, working of WebImage helper to embed images to your webpages including the usage of Video Helper and HTML5 <video> tag.

While Chapter 6 examines the usage of Forms, Form Controls and the technique of capturing user input in forms, Chapter 7 enables you to create a database with WebMatrix. You will also learn the steps to be followed to query a database including adding, updating and modification of database data. I would prefer to see a section which examines the development of applications using Oracle and MySQL databases.

The author has examined the concepts in all the chapters with the help of screenshots, source codes followed by step by step explanation. You will learn how to share your site through various social networking sites including twitter and Xbox Live in Chapter 8.

The next chapter enables you to send email messages by using the WebMail helper with the help of a sample email application. Chapters 10 and 11 walk you through the development of different phases of building a simple web application using styles, layout, templates and database.

Chapters 12 and 13 enable you to develop web applications integrated with Facebook and PayPal using WebMatrix. The remaining chapters delves deep into the creation of your own web helpers, site deployment and the usage of WordPress including PHP code editing of sites powered with WordPress.

The book includes one appendix which covers the fundamental concepts of programming such as Variables, Data Types and Programming Constructs like if-else, switch-case, while and foreach loop. The complete source code along with other companion files is available for download from O'Reilly website.

The author should also examine the steps to be followed to resolve common error messages which occur during the development stage of an ASP.NET application. Moreover, the book should include a chapter to discuss the development of AJAX based applications with WebMatrix.

Conclusion

I would prefer to see multiple choice questions at the end of each chapter so that learners can judge their knowledge. From my point of view, the book will be very useful for beginners and computer training centers for imparting courses on ASP.NET as the author has covered the concepts in a step-by-step manner. Students will be able to learn the usage quickly by following the instructions in each step.

About the Reviewer

Anand Narayanaswamy (Microsoft MVP and ASPInsider) is the author of Community Server Quickly. He works as an independent consultant based in Trivandrum, India and runs www.learnxpress.com and An Exclusive Directory for .NET Geeks.

About the Book

Title

Introducing Microsoft WebMatrix

Author

Laurence Moroney

Publisher

Microsoft Press

ISBN - 13

978-0735649705

Edition

May 2011

Pages

352

Price

$39.99

Rating

****

 


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