Tuesday, September 13th, 2005

Microsoft Atlas Details Revealed

Category: .NET, Toolkit

I’m here at Microsoft’s Professional Developer’s Conference, and they’ve announced some interesting tidbits about Atlas, their Ajax framework. (It was a bit weird to hear Jim Allchin refer to DHTML as Ajax on-stage.)

Atlas will be a cross-browser JavaScript library with ASP.NET bindings. They are fully supporting Safari, Firefox, and Internet Explorer. Atlas includes a bunch of UI components as well as other utility functionality (for example, a ScriptManager that loads JavaScript on demand).

The idea is that Atlas seamlessly fits into the Microsoft UI client stack: DHTML -> Atlas -> ActiveX -> WPF/E -> Win32 -> WinFX. (WPF/E is the portable Avalon API I blogged about earlier today, WinFX is the new rich API for accessing Avalon), and as such, its UI components can tie into Indigo, their services API, to receive objects via JSON and display them in UI components.

You can then switch your front-end to Avalon and display objects in 3D GUI widgets using the same services you use to power your Ajax UIs. Interesting…

Atlas will also bind to WPF/E to do vector graphics in a browser via a cross-browser Microsoft plug-in. This appears to be their answer to Firefox/Safari’s new SVG/Canvas support.

Go ahead and download Atlas

ASP.NET “Atlas” is a package of new Web development technologies that integrates an extensive set of client script libraries with the rich, server-based development platform of ASP.NET 2.0. “Atlas” enables you to develop Web applications that can update data on a Web page by making direct calls to a Web server — without needing to round trip the page. With “Atlas”, you can take advantage of the best of ASP.NET and server-side code while doing much of the work in the browser, enabling a richer user experience.

ASP.NET “Atlas” includes:

  • Client script libraries that provide a complete solution for creating client-based Web applications. The client script libraries support object-oriented development, cross-browser compatibility, asynchronous calls to Web services, and behaviors and components for creating a full-featured UI.
  • Web server controls that provide a declarative way to emit markup and client script for “Atlas” features.
  • Web services, such as ASP.NET profiles, that can add useful server-side features to an “Atlas” application.

Posted by Ben Galbraith at 6:11 pm
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