Sunday, July 3rd, 2005

Microsoft Atlas: Information from Scott Guthrie

Category: .NET

Scott Guthrie of Microsoft, spoke in behalf of the Web Platform and Tools Team on Microsoft Atlas.

He goes into detail on the pieces that will come from Atlas:

  • Atlas Client Script Framework: For ASP.NET applications, we are planning on building a new set of AJAX-style ASP.NET Server Controls, and enhancing our existing ASP.NET page framework and controls, to support the Atlas Client Script Framework.

    ASP.NET 2.0 includes a new feature, called asynchronous client callbacks, that makes it easy to build ASP.NET pages that update their content from the server without requiring a page roundtrip. Asynchronous client callbacks wrap XMLHTTP, and work on a variety of browsers. ASP.NET itself includes several controls that use callbacks, including client-side paging and sorting in the GridView and DetailsView controls, and supporting virtual lists of items in the TreeView control. You can learn more about callbacks on Bertrand Le Roy’s blog.

    The Atlas Client Script Framework will fully support ASP.NET 2.0 callbacks, but we’re planning on enriching the level of integration between the browser and the server much further. For example, you will be able to data bind Atlas client controls to ASP.NET data source controls on the server, and you’ll be able to control personalization features of web parts pages asynchronously from the client.

  • ASP.NET Server Controls for Atlas: For ASP.NET applications, we are planning on building a new set of AJAX-style ASP.NET Server Controls, and enhancing our existing ASP.NET page framework and controls, to support the Atlas Client Script Framework.

    ASP.NET 2.0 includes a new feature, called asynchronous client callbacks, that makes it easy to build ASP.NET pages that update their content from the server without requiring a page roundtrip. Asynchronous client callbacks wrap XMLHTTP, and work on a variety of browsers. ASP.NET itself includes several controls that use callbacks, including client-side paging and sorting in the GridView and DetailsView controls, and supporting virtual lists of items in the TreeView control. You can learn more about callbacks on Bertrand Le Roy’s blog.

    The Atlas Client Script Framework will fully support ASP.NET 2.0 callbacks, but we’re planning on enriching the level of integration between the browser and the server much further. For example, you will be able to data bind Atlas client controls to ASP.NET data source controls on the server, and you’ll be able to control personalization features of web parts pages asynchronously from the client.

  • ASP.NET Web Services Integration: Like any client application, an AJAX-style web application will usually need to access functionality on the web server. The model for connecting to the server for Atlas applications is the same as for the rest of the platform – through the use of Web services.

    With ASP.NET Web Services Integration, Atlas applications will be able to access any ASP.NET-hosted ASMX or Indigo service directly through the Atlas Client Script Framework, on any browser that supports XMLHTTP. The framework will automatically handle proxy generation, and object serialization to and from script. With web services integration, you can use a single programming model to write your services, and use them in any application, from browser-based sites to full smart client applications.

  • ASP.NET Building Block Services for Atlas: With ASP.NET 2.0, we’ve built a rich set of building block services that make it incredibly easy to build powerful, personalized web applications. These building blocks dramatically reduce the amount of code you have to write for common web application scenarios, such as managing users, authorizing users by role, and storing profiles and personalized data.

    With Atlas, we’ll make these accessible as web services that can be used from the client framework in the browser or from any client application. For example, if you are building a website that shows a list of to-do items for the user, you can use the ASP.NET Profile service to store them in the user’s profile on the server. These items will then be accessible even as the user roams from one machine to another.

  • Client Building Block Services: In addition to DHTML, JScript, and XMLHTTP, we’re looking at additional services that allow websites to harness the power of the client to deliver an enriched experience.

    The local browser cache is an example of such a service. When enabled, websites can store content in that cache and later retrieve it efficiently. But there’s no API from the browser to store data in the cache, and applications like Google Maps or OWA have to go through hoops to generate unique URLs so that the browser will cache the server response. With Atlas, we plan on providing programmable access to a local store/cache, so that applications can locally cache data easily, efficiently and securely.

    Integration with other applications is another new dimension of a rich web experience. For example, when a user browses an auction site and bids on an item, they can see when the auction ends, but how easily can they integrate that event into their personal calendar application? With Atlas, we are also looking to provide a set of client-side building block services, and a model for how websites can securely publish connection points for those services. When the user selects “Add to Calendar�, the browser can call the connection point to get the calendar data, and pass it onto the local calendar application. The page doesn’t get to download or run its own code or initiate the action, so it’s safer than ActiveX.

Posted by Dion Almaer at 10:25 pm
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