Thursday, December 6th, 2007

Microsoft Labs Volta: .NET Web Toolkit

Category: Microsoft

Microsoft Labs has announced a new project called Volta that looks like GWT for .NET.

Erik Meijer (Mr. LINQ) is behind this one:

“The idea is that you start out building your application, focusing on the functionality, the look and feel, until you’re satisfied with it and then you repurpose it into an AJAX application or whatever,” Erik Meijer, Volta’s principal architect and a member of Microsoft’s SQL Server team, said in an interview. “You incrementally morph a standard client-only application into a Web application. The programmer specifies the intent and then we’re going to insert all the necessary code to do the ‘how.'”

Apps written with Volta can be debugged from within Visual Studio, something that’s not always easy for multi-tier apps that run across client and server. “One of the unique opportunities provided for us is to debug across different forms of code, whether client or server,” Alex Daley, Microsoft’s group product manager for Live Labs, said in an interview. Volta, meanwhile, can also instrument code so developers can collect information on performance from Microsoft Service Trace Viewer.

You have a full API to talk into the browser side of things… E.g.:

  1. partial void InitializeComponent() {
  2.    nameElement = Document.GetById<input>("Text1");
  3.    greetingElement = Document.GetById<div>("Greeting");
  4.    button1 = Document.GetById<button>("Button1");
  5.    public VoltaPage1() {
  6.      InitializeComponent();
  8.      var greeter = new Greeter();
  9.      button1.Click += delegate {
  10.         var name = nameElement.Value;
  11.     };
  12. }

You can also call out to “native” JavaScript code via annotations:

  1. [Import("function(id) { return new VEMap(id); }")]
  2. public extern Map(string id);

I have seen teams have great success with GWT, and it is especially nice when a new version comes out that has huge speed improvements (which seems to happen each time), so there is probably a market for people who are .NET shops who think JavaScript is “icky” :/

I definitely want to check out the Ruby side of things…

Posted by Dion Almaer at 7:15 am

2.9 rating from 39 votes


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seems to be very cool :)

Comment by Lupin3d — December 6, 2007

Java, Haskell, C#, also Ocaml: it looks like every existing language will soon have converter to Javascript ;)

BTW in the second C# snippet: “import” is so similar to unsafeJS in Haskell converter…

Comment by Dimitry — December 6, 2007

Looks a lot like sript#

Comment by Rodrigo — December 6, 2007

Might be worth a play at sometime.

Comment by WebmonkeyIreland — December 6, 2007


probably because Nikhil works for MS

Comment by Site Smart — December 6, 2007

lokks like it is far bhind this one. One should be aware that I am not, and do not pretend to be objective, never the less I believe that one can judge for himself. Visual WebGui is an open source rapid application development framework for graphic user interfaces of IT web applications. VWG replaces the obsolete paradigms of ASP.NET in both design-time and run-time which were designed for developing sites, with WinForms methodologies, which were designed for developing applications. Thus enabling designer that was designed for application interfaces (WinForms designer) instead of a word documents (ASP.NET designer). This provides the developer with an extremely efficient way to design interfaces using drag and drop instead of hand coding HTML Worth a look at

Comment by navot — December 8, 2007

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