Scott Guthrie introduces Webmatrix on his blog. This new tool is a lightweight development environment for ASP.NET developers. I think this makes sense!
Many users must have tried any version of Visual Studio, or one of its Express Editions. It's true that these tools are way too heavy for creating lightweight web applications. And let's face it: most developers do not need or use 90% of what these tools ship with. It's like driving a heavy truck to go the supermarket. A Suzuki Alto would be a much better option :).
It's not the first lightweight .NET development tool by MS. Actually, Microsoft launched a ASP.NET Web Matrix in 2002. For some reason, they stopped that project after 1 or 2 years.
Maybe MS is starting to realize that they have lost too many developers to PHP? It's true that nearly all popular web applications and social networking sites are running on PHP. ASP.NET is nowhere to be found in this segment! On the other hand, where I live (Belgium), most well paid jobs are (still) for C# .NET developers.
Anyway, the question is whether a new tool will bring back these PHP users... To be honest, I don't think so. Even more: by creating yet another development tool, Microsoft might add even more complexity when it comes to develop, exchange and implement .NET applications. It's becoming a real jungle.
Why does Microsoft not come up with a new version of Classic ASP? THAT would be very useful. We would be helped a lot with a new development environment. I'm using Notepad++ for some time now. It works fine, but it's not perfect! Also, Microsoft could add basic support for handling zip files, pdf files and jpg-images to classic ASP! Can't be too difficult can it? Many companies are offering components for that purpose for a decade already.
Finally, I found this recent e-book (April 2010) on the net. I must admit, I find it very inspiring. Have a look. It takes 15 minutes to read it through.