Tuesday, January 23rd, 2007

Microsoft announces the ASP.NET Ajax 1.0 Release

Category: .NET, Ajax, Microsoft

>Microsoft has announced the final 1.0 release of ASP.NET Ajax (a.k.a. Atlas).

It consists of a core platform, and a bunch of controls:

ASP.NET AJAX 1.0

ASP.NET AJAX 1.0 delivers a rich client-side AJAX library that provides cross platform, cross browser support for a core JavaScript type-system, JSON-based network serialization stack, JavaScript component/control model, as well as common client JavaScript helper classes. ASP.NET AJAX also delivers a rich server-side library that integrates AJAX functionality within ASP.NET, and enables developers to easily AJAX-enable existing ASP.NET 2.0 sites with minimal effort.

ASP.NET AJAX is available for free, and can be used with ASP.NET 2.0 and VS 2005. It is a fully supported Microsoft product, and is backed by a standard 10 year Microsoft support license (with Microsoft Product Support available via phone 24 hours a day x 7 days a week).

ASP.NET AJAX Control Toolkit

In addition to the fully-supported ASP.NET AJAX 1.0 release, you can use the more than 30 free ASP.NET AJAX enabled controls available within the ASP.NET AJAX Control Toolkit.  The control toolkit is a shared-source collaborative project built together by a team containing both Microsoft and non-Microsoft developers (visit the CodePlex Project to learn more, or volunteer to contribute).  All source for the controls is provided completely for free (with full re-use and modification rights). 

The majority of controls within the ASP.NET AJAX Control Toolkit leverage the “Control Extender” pattern that the core ASP.NET AJAX library introduces, and which delivers a super powerful way to easily enable specific AJAX scenarios on a site with minimal effort.

Future Plans

While the core ASP.NET AJAX 1.0 release is now officially shipped, we are definitely not slowing down. :-)

All of the ASP.NET AJAX 1.0 features will be integrated directly into the next release of ASP.NET (codename: “Orcas”). Visual Studio “Orcas” will also provide client-side JavaScript intellisense, JavaScript compilation checking, and rich JavaScript debugging support for ASP.NET AJAX scenarios.

We are also already at work on the next ASP.NET AJAX release, and will continue to add new features and improvements to the supported ASP.NET AJAX core. You can already start using many of these new features with the ASP.NET AJAX Futures CTP (available for download now on the ASP.NET AJAX site – it also supports a “go live” license).

Is the Microsoft camp of developers going to listen to the ivory tower and use this? Or will you be looking for alternatives?

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Posted by Dion Almaer at 4:50 pm
21 Comments

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4 rating from 151 votes

21 Comments »

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I love the fact the demo’s using a non-MS browser.

Comment by Adam — January 23, 2007

I started off with Rico, then I discovered Dojo, but I’ve been using ASP.NET AJAX for a while now. I won’t say it’s better than other frameworks, but it’s got decent documentation and it’s easy to work with. They’ve also made an effort to make the library play nice with others. I’m enjoying it.

Comment by Michael — January 23, 2007

Not just for ASP.NET! Admittedly still in Alpha, check out my “PHP for Microsoft AJAX Library” project on codeplex: http://codeplex.com/phpmsajax.

Comment by Steve Marx — January 23, 2007

Not to offend the great developers in Microsoft, I think some of the ajax controls offered there is not so good. The date picker.. for instance, seems to have some minor problems rendering in ie6: sometimes part of the buttons are cut off. The animation for that too, is not visually stunning enough and seems pointless.

Meanwhile, I’m currently developing a real date picker that works like the one in Vista :D

Comment by Simon Lim — January 23, 2007

i love microsoft adopting the AJAX name! Almost like just deciding thats now ours! but they didnt even need to buy it this time.

Comment by Dougal Matthews — January 23, 2007

I like the method the calendar provides for changing month and year. Very nice idea, very clean. Although the implementation could drop some of the gratious animations, e.g. the side scrolling on “next month” is too much, IMHO. And I think discoverability for changing year / month could be enhanced.

I also noticed that some of the controls are really slugish in reporting back the selected value (I use Opeera BTW). For example 3 seconds for the “popup control”.

Comment by Martin — January 23, 2007

It’s nice to see that the Microsoft developers finally got their javascript working in Safari/WebKit. However, as one of the earlier commenters pointed out, some of these are inferior to existing library tools… for example, these are the lamest drop shadows and rounded corners I’ve yet seen. All of which raises the question, Why? Was it just to provide a challenge to Microsoft’s developer staff? There are so many great javascript libraries already written, it seems totally redundant to try to rewrite the manual just so you can say it’s a Microsoft product. Oh well, I guess there are those developers who feel more comfortable using a Microsoft-sanctioned library. But any developer with half a brain is going to look for the best and most flexible library… particularly one with no strings attached. And it’s not going to be the one from Microsoft.

Comment by Leland Scott — January 23, 2007

Adam, not sure if you were being sarcastic, but I think that was the point: to show that the kit is NOT specific to IE. Releasing something browser-agnostic like this is, you must admit, unusual for Microsoft, or at least unexpected by some.

Comment by Keith — January 23, 2007

ASP.NET Ajax isn’t an intellectual exercise, it has a real benefit over other libraries which is integration with the server-side development paradigm. In the case of ASP.NET that means you get a lot of Ajax functionality using declarative server-side markup, which is a huge productivity boost, and you can accomplish a lot without knowing Javascript at all.

Comment by Jeffrey McManus — January 24, 2007

I relly like Microsoft into ajax

Comment by Honey — January 24, 2007

I think people should be focussing less on the Ajax Control Toolkit (which is open source) and more on the great Ajax/JSON support Microsoft have baked into ASP.NET – as other posters point out – allowing easy declarative Ajax, like the UpdatePanel. The Control Toolkit, using Extenders, can be modified and made prettier for custom apps. I can now begin to scoff at Ruby Rails and other frameworks for lacking the features of the end-to-end RIA platform that .NET now provides. It’s nothing to do with “Microsoft-sanctioned” it’s about quality and productivity.

Comment by Andy — January 24, 2007

I agree with other comments here. I think the strength of ASP.Net Ajax is it’s Ajax/JSON support. ASP.Net applications can be quickly, cleanly and relatively easily updated and improved using this. The controls themselves will give many companies a boost despite not being the best available, but that said, I do think they open the door to better apps developed on the ASP.Net platform, with the SDK hopefully we’ll see more improved controls as people develop them.

Comment by Shaun — January 24, 2007

“and you can accomplish a lot without knowing Javascript at all”

That’s a really wierd argument – what webdeveloper doesn’t know javascript?
It’s like working in the USA and not knowing english.
If the argument is to mean anything, this is a BAD thing, helping developers to avoid learning something they really SHOULD learn.

Comment by mikael bergkvist — January 24, 2007

I am making a wrapper around yui-ext for asp.net ajax.
For now there are two controls the Grid and the TabPanel.
With the wrapper both controls can be used with 0 lines of Javascript.
The project is at codeplex and anyone is welcome to join me.
http://www.codeplex.com/GridExtender

Comment by rodrigo — January 24, 2007

Sorry, I won’t ever use a MS JS Lib. If the company can’t even implement JS correctly in its browser, why should I rely on a lib it develops?

Comment by Cody Swann — January 24, 2007

Excellent news, I will probably put this to work in my ASP.NET projects right away. The library itself actually looks pretty slick, other than that I don’t plan on using any of the built-in widgets. I’d rather make my own.

Comment by Andy Kant — January 24, 2007

So do MS refer to their implentation of ECMAScript as JavaScript now? I thought they called it JScript!!… a never mind…

Comment by stuart — January 25, 2007

Honestly I’m not sure why people are always thinking about them selves (developers); actually these people –and I’m also a developer– are at the very bottom of the corporate foodchain. You really think that microsoft branding has anything to do with actually improving our lives? Sure we want some good integration with the environment and technology we are working with, but that won’t persuade the average boss. The “management” will start to think when their clients starts using the word AJAX and what great things he/she/they want(s) for his/her/their product. Anyway that’s when looking for something to create this stuff in will need to have AJAX integration so now Microsoft can say that their ASP.net has easy AJAX integration and that in turn will make the choice for ASP.net much easier. Also most companies will know what they’ll get from a giant like Microsoft where smaller open-source products will probably be looked at last. Anyway, I think it’s a good thing as personally I’m planning to completely dump PHP and just focus on JSP and ASP for web-development so this is something welcome for me as well –even though there are more products out there that may indeed do things better– although I will probably try reinventing the wheel a few times now I’m still a student thus not wasting my boss’ time

Comment by Alex Ries — January 25, 2007

Really, with something like Ajax 1.0… isn’t it more about “what will you do with it?” This seems more in tune with a team already familiar with ASP.NET and/or has a pre-existing setup (or perhaps has influence to have a setup done for them) that supports ASP.NET. To me it seems each toolkit or framework has its own strength and weakness for a given type of project. No real silver bullet so to speak. Full scale, where the infrastructure is more at your command, or perhaps a team or web dev fully steeped in the .NET/C# world, it might be better to use Ajax 1.0. That way it would allow rapid ramp up time on a project. But, if that isn’t the case… Ajax 1.0 might seem a lot of trouble to go through to accomplish a goal that could be accomplished faster with Prototype, Dojo, Moki or some combination thereof.

Comment by Chris Ash — January 25, 2007

people need to not look at the toolkit… yah alot of it is not so good, and as a .net developer id more likely be using prorotype/scriptaculous etc… but the built in ajax functionality to asp.net is very nice… and quick… and integrated… compared to my experiance w/ libraries added onto existing web app layers… and honestly some of the things these guys did w/ the pure javascript layer is pretty slick

Comment by mike wolf — January 26, 2007

mikael bergkvist is wrong, and he always will be. The more responsibility you take a away from the programmer the better. Rely on automated tools and behind the scenes translation. That way the automated tools can get better, a eventually replace us. This post was not written by a robot.

Comment by Dan — January 26, 2007

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