Today at CodeMash Microsoft announced a few new resources for ASP.NET developers: ASP.NET MVC3, IIS Express 7.5, NuGet, Orchard 1.0, SQL Server Compact Edition 4, WebMatrix.


Screenshot of the Orchard Project CMS management console. Looks a bit like WordPress doesn't it?

ASP.NET MVC3 - The latest version of the MVC for ASP.NET. It includes a new view-engine option called "Razor," better tools for working with JavaScript and HTML5 and several other improvements.
IIS Express 7.5 - A developer focused version of IIS that does not require admin rights to run and debug code from Visual Studio.
NuGet - An open source package manager designed to make it easier for ASP.NET developers to find, install, and use open source libraries for projects.
Orchard 1.0 - The Orchard Project is Microsoft-sponsored project dedicated to creating open source applications and reusable components in .NET. Orchard 1.0, a .NET based CMS, is its first project.
SQL Server Compact Edition 4 - A simple version of SQL Server for developers. It doesn't even require installation to work.
WebMatrix - A starter-kit for ASP.NET developers. It includes: IIS Express, ASP.NET and SQL Server Compact. It also includes many open source code templates and an integrated SEO tool.

Many new programmers today begin by learning languages like PHP, Ruby and Python. It seems that Microsoft is trying to make it easy for beginners to start using ASP.NET instead. WebMatrix helps guide developers through the very basics, starting with CSS and working its way up to ASP.NET and SQL.

The Orchard Project's CMS is a successor to the ill-fated Oxite CMS. ZDNet's Mary Jo Foley wrote the following when Orchard was announced:

As one reader (thanks, @karlseguin) noted, Oxite was anything but a big hit with developers, including many of those in Microsoft's own .Net community. There have been many complaints about Oxite, from the development process, to the scope of the project, to the quality of the code and the way Microsoft explained the concept/product. Perhaps that's one reason why Microsoft is starting over with a new codename and claiming this is not a Microsoft project.