Monday, September 11th, 2006

Atlas becomes: Microsoft AJAX Library and ASP.NET 2.0 AJAX Extensions

Category: .NET

Scott Guthrie has announced the “Atlas” 1.0 Naming and Roadmap, which includes the news that Atlas 1.0 will ship around the end of this year, that it will become “fully supported” by Microsoft, and that this means some renaming:

As part of releasing “Atlas”, we have also finally locked on an official set of product names that we will begin using moving forward. What was formerly called “Atlas” will now have a few names:

1) The client-side “Atlas” javascript library is going to be called the Microsoft AJAX Library. This will work with any browser, and also support any backend web server (read these blog posts to see how to run it on PHP and ColdFusion).

2) The server-side “Atlas” functionality that nicely integrates with ASP.NET will be called the ASP.NET 2.0 AJAX Extensions. As part of this change the tag prefix for the “Atlas” controls will change from to . These controls will also be built-in to ASP.NET vNext.

3) The “Atlas” Control Toolkit today is a set of free, shared source controls and components that help you get the most value from the ASP.NET AJAX Extensions. Going forward, the name of the project will change to be the ASP.NET AJAX Control Toolkit.

Closing remarks

We are really excited about being able to get a fully supported 1.0 release out. It will be 100% cross-browser and cross-platform. It will simplify adding rich AJAX functionality to ASP.NET applications, and it will enable hugely improved UX for end users. Getting this functionality into your hands in the most flexible way possible is our number one priority and we think the plan I outline above does just that.

Things will get even better next year with Visual Studio “Orcas” where we are adding rich JavaScript intellisense, debugging and WYSIWYG designer support for the ASP.NET AJAX Extensions within Visual Studio and many other great features to take advantage of.

Posted by Dion Almaer at 7:22 pm

3.6 rating from 56 votes


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Pingback by Jukka-Pekka Keisala » Blog Archive » Atlas will be Microsoft AJAX Library — September 12, 2006

Wow. The Microsoft Naming Gurus at work. I wonder how the Zune will be called… Microsoft .NET Audio Playing Device 3.0 or something…

Comment by LKM — September 12, 2006

> It will be 100% cross-browser and cross-platform.

They don’t really mean that do they?

Comment by Dean Edwards — September 12, 2006

I don’t really believe it either. It’s great that they’re *saying* so, but in the end the waterfall development culture at MS will cause cross-browser support to be dropped. They’ll be too busy chasing bugs with their IE support, given that IE7 doesn’t address JavaScript issues in the engine.

Comment by Morgan Knicely — September 12, 2006

“This will work with any browser, and also support any backend web server…”

“It will be 100% cross-browser and cross-platform.”

Sweet! Let me get my Solaris lynx port ready.

F**king idiots.

Comment by The Hater — September 12, 2006

This will work with any browser, and also support any backend web server

It’s a good start, but is it unobtrusive? Does it follow the Hijax methodology?

[Same question to all of the other libraries out there too]

Comment by Olly Hodgson — September 12, 2006

I, for one, welcome our new Microsoft AJAX Overlords. As part of their Master plan, I am here to assist everyone in accepting this new Microsoft AJAX, or “MJAXScript#”, as it will be hereafter be called.

Comment by mdm-adph — September 12, 2006

Does anyone have the ability to not be negative towards anything Microsoft does anymore? I always see comments that pretty much go to the extent of saying Microsoft NEVER does what they say they’re going to do, but I rarely see evidence.

So far, Atlas has done a pretty good job of being cross-browser…why wouldn’t it be in the end? Personally, I think the team they have working on the framework is quite capable of making it cross-browser.

I’m excited, just like many of other Javascript Libraries/Frameworks, to see the final 1.0 release.

Comment by Michael — September 12, 2006

Yes, we’ll of course be 100% cross, browser and platform. In marketing terms, 100% could map to 100% of as yet undisclosed target browser + platform combinations, for instance two or three distinct picks that would fit a suitable market share at the time.

Comment by Johan Sundström — September 12, 2006

This endless pessimism toward MS is so 90’s. Do you think they are this massive institution of evil doers or something? The Atlas team is developers just like us who happened to get a job there instead of somewhere else. Why would they not want Atlas to be compatible?

Comment by Will — September 12, 2006

Why don’t work those simple Tabs in the Atlas website in Opera 8.5 and 9?
Can somebody tell me why a standard compliant browser like Opera is not supported.

I ask you: Who will use this framework?

Comment by Andi — September 12, 2006

Another excuse for drag and droppers to not learn javascript / what they’re doing. The .net guys at my day job are sooo excited that ajax is finally here for them.

Scary days ahead for our customers.

Comment by randy — September 12, 2006

“This endless pessimism toward MS is so 90’s.” – You mean like their browser?

I’ll stop insulting Microsoft when they stop making it so damn easy (and when they stop pissing me off so much).

They might as well advertise that nobody will ever break their technology’s security, and that their operating system works with every device ever made, right out of the box.

Comment by The Hater — September 12, 2006

Since there’s been some confusion about the “100% cross-platform and cross-browser” comment – let me clarify where we are on that.

The Atlas 1.0 release will work with a broad variety of browsers on different platforms. We will specifically test it on the following browsers:

– Internet Explorer 5.5+
– Mozilla
– Safari
– Opera 9 (we don’t support this in the CTP today, but we are adding this before V1 release based on strong feedback)

This means that we will formally support (through product support) developers with issues that arise on these browsers.

We think this set of browsers is a reasonable start for V1, and represents the majority of browsers in use out there. We will continue look at adding support for other browsers depending on demand – if you have one you’d like to suggest, please let us know on the Atlas site, or by emailing me through my blog ( Of course, we’ll continue to support new versions of the browsers above.

Due to some differences in browser implementations, some Atlas features may not work fully on all these browsers. For example, some of the browsers above do not support dynamic loading of scripts properly. We’ll have a page on our site that shows what features work (or don’t work) on each supported browser.


Comment by Shanku Niyogi — September 12, 2006

Isn’t “cross browser” pretty much understood to mean IE/Opera/Firefox/Safari these days? At least when anybody but Microsoft says it?


Comment by The Sak — September 12, 2006

I have to be honest, I was merrily learning Atlas along w/ the bulk of the ASP.Net community right up until the point where I saw Scott’s comment to the effect that they hadn’t been planning to support Opera a few weeks (months?) back. I immediately broke camp and started looking for another solution that *did* cover the Big Four, because I have customers who would like to keep that market segment.

So, while I generally like Microsoft and its productsI can’t help but hesitate over this news and *not* plan on using Atlas until I see the release and can test it myself and so on. Fool me once and all that.

Comment by Paul — October 2, 2006

Fresh Logic Studios Scripts is an object oriented JavaScript framework with a programming model similar to the Microsoft .NET Framework.

We created this to help save us some time in developing our own products and didn’t feel it was fair to keep this work all to ourselves. Inside you’ll find JavaScript implementations for a small subset of the classes provided by the .NET Framework base class libraries.

Fresh Logic Studios Scripts is lightweight, weighing in just over 10KB. Download the library, view examples and documentation @

Comment by Shawn Miller — October 3, 2006

I love Atlas. I can’t wait for its first release.

Comment by Ad — October 12, 2006

Five minutes research on the Microsoft Atlas team’s blog would have shown that the team was researching the Opera incompatibilities months ago (they discovered that the casing they used in naming their assemblies was creating a problem, for instance). It appears they tackled the browsers in the order of popularity, which puts Opera and Safari last–not ignored but the needs of the majority of the users were tackled first.

The assumption that Atlas won’t be cross-platform is bigotry. Looking at the actual product (or comparing the compatibility issues in the April release–as documented at Musingis from Mars–vs. the compatibility issues in teh current release) would be a rational way of assessing how compatible the toolkit is but would require actual work.

Comment by Peter Vogel — October 21, 2006

As someone who used to knock Microsoft a lot, but who now works for the company, I have to say that many of the negative posters in this thread exemplify the mindset that finally made me change my mind about Microsoft. By being so relentlessly negative, and by never checking their facts, these people form a stark contrast to the Microsoft developers who work hard, and create solid API’s for the community to use. On the one hand there is technical competence, and on the other hand foolishness. It made the choice easy, which is why I now work at Microsoft.

Comment by Charlie Calvert — October 23, 2006

After using BETA 2, I’ve had no problems is great (except with opera). It integrates and performs flawlessly with our pre-existing code. We are still having problems with Opera, but this can be fixed by configuring the page to perform the old way and using post backs (which can be switched on and off when the script managers init event is raised). Although, I’m sure this will be fixed within the next release.

As for the people knocking .NET, a huge goal of ASP.NET was to make development quicker, more efficient and object oriented. I know javascript, I’ve coded AJAX apps; but why re-invent the wheel? 10 minutes vs. 2 hours…honestly, you’ve got to have better things to do with your time.

Comment by James — December 4, 2006

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