In late 2012, Microsoft announced it would slowly discontinue its Expression brand of software products, which were used mainly by developers to create websites. Today, Microsoft revealed it was also shutting down a program designed to help web developers, the WebSiteSpark program.
The official WebSiteSpark page now has a message which states that the company now has a number of free web development software tools for anyone to use to make websites. The message added, "Since Microsoft is making these powerful new resources available to you without cost, the WebsiteSpark program will no longer be accepting new membership applications."
Current members will still be able to access all of the features and benefits from the WebSiteSpark program for another year. Microsoft currently does not plan to cut off those benefits to those members until sometime in March 2014.
Launched in 2009, developers who signed up to WebSiteSpark got access to the Expression software tools, along with Visual Studio Professional, SQL Server Web Edition, Windows Web Server and WebMatrix. Developers could also use some of Microsoft's Windows Azure cloud-based services as well. Now, the only resources that Microsoft will be offering to web developers are the free WebMatrix tools.