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Microsoft

ASP.NET Ajax Released 101

Posted by kdawson
from the Redmond-does-Web-2.0 dept.
darrenkopp writes "Microsoft released their anticipated AJAX framework that integrates with their ASP.NET product .It is a fully supported product (24x7 phone support), but is completely free! They are releasing the source for it as well."
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ASP.NET Ajax Released

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  • Source? (Score:3, Informative)

    by JoshJ (1009085) on Wednesday January 24, 2007 @01:35AM (#17734106) Journal
    The word "source" doesn't even appear on the frontpage of that, nor on the "learn more" page. The Download page says the toolkit is shared-source but none of the other stuff mentions the source. Docs don't mention source at all.
    Looking at the terms of use page, this is hardly a free license, and it's certainly not opensource unless they've really managed to bury it within the site somewhere.
    • by QuantumG (50515) *
      No-one said it was open source, but it's interesting that people assume "source available" means "open source".
      • No-one said it was open source, but it's interesting that people assume "source available" means "open source".
         
        Also interesting is that you assumed his statement of fact that it's not open source implies an expectation that it was. :)
         
        • Also interesting is that you assumed his statment of fact that 'that people' meant 'that all people', thereby implicating the parent of his post.
      • Re: (Score:1, Flamebait)

        by BiggyP (466507)
        The term "completely free" was used, to my mind it's not completely free unless it's open source and released under a suitable license.
    • Re:Source? (Score:5, Informative)

      by blowdart (31458) on Wednesday January 24, 2007 @07:53AM (#17736150) Homepage

      The "source available" (notice how carefully I worded that to avoid your assumption that it should be "open source" using your/RMS's definition) is mentioned on Scott Guthrie's blog [asp.net]

      In addition to shipping the source code for the ASP.NET AJAX Control Toolkit controls, we are also releasing all of the source code for the fully supported ASP.NET AJAX 1.0 release. Specifically:

      We are releasing the client-side ASP.NET AJAX JavaScript library (which we also call the "Microsoft AJAX Library") under the Microsoft Permissive License (Ms-PL) [microsoft.com]. This grants developers the right to freely customize/modify the library, as well as to redistribute the derivative versions of the JavaScript library for both commercial and non-commercial purposes.

      To help with debugging and development, we are also releasing all of the source code for the server-side ASP.NET AJAX 1.0 implementation (including the UpdatePanel, UpdateProgress, ScriptManager, and Network Serialization code) under the Microsoft Reference License (Ms-RL) [microsoft.com].

      Being granted "the right to freely customize/modify the library, as well as to redistribute the derivative versions of the JavaScript library for both commercial and non-commercial purposes" is pretty "open", despite not being released under the GPL. Heck it's almost a BSD license. It's certainly the least restrictive of the MS source licenses, they just haven't submitted it to the OSI for approval (and really, can you blame them?). It was written with the OSD in mind.

  • by Schraegstrichpunkt (931443) on Wednesday January 24, 2007 @01:36AM (#17734112) Homepage
    ... how innovative of them!
  • Yeah, but... (Score:3, Informative)

    by Bin_jammin (684517) <Binjammin@gmail.com> on Wednesday January 24, 2007 @01:36AM (#17734118)
    the support center phone numbers all start in 976, and they charge $14.99 per minute.
    • by kv9 (697238)

      the support center phone numbers all start in 976, and they charge $14.99 per minute.

      sneak in to MS campus, and call them from there

  • This sucks for all those companies whose core business is making an AJAX framework.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Osty (16825)

      This sucks for all those companies whose core business is making an AJAX framework.

      Maybe for those businesses whose core is making an AJAX framework for ASP.NET (are there any such businesses out there?). Those focused on other languages/platforms (PHP, Ruby on Rails, etc) should have no problem competing with this since their target audience probably isn't going to switch from Ruby to C#.

      Besides, it's not like this just came out of the blue. The Atlas framework (the in-progress codename for this v1.

      • 1) see a post notifying /. of a Microsoft product 2) find a way to weave an underlying issue to do with MS being overly competitive somehow even though they are the 97th company to release such a product 3) ?? 4) there is no step 4
      • by Shados (741919)
        Because of the way ASP.NET works, its a bit dumb to make an Ajax toolkit. You're better off making a control toolkit, as it can be better targeted for your customers. And its what people have been doing. Look at ComponentArt, Telerik, and others. Their offerings, while sharing some things with ASP.NET Ajax, actualy embrace and extend it, so their offerings are still worth the money...
        • by WED Fan (911325)

          God, just the mention of the Telerik tools is enough to make me...well, I love Telerik. Talk about making it so damned easy.

          I met these guys at DevConnections last year. Good guys, and their product is great. I love the "outlook" stuff. Especially when the customer's management see the end results. If you can make web-based apps indistiguishable from the desktop apps that PHB's use, BONUS.

          • by Shados (741919)
            Yeah seriously. I used to work for a consulting firm, and, well, UI sells. As much as the google "keep in simple" approaches work like a charm... making fancy interactive GUIs make customers throw money at you. When we started using Telerik's controls is when we started having to refuse contracts for lack of time to do them all! It was sweeet.

            Unfortunately, now I work for in house enterprise apps for a fortune 500 company. And they don't care about that. Can't even use ASP.NET Ajax because of architecture d
    • Maybe for people that make frameowrks, but people that are making asp.net controls that are enabled by ajax ( Telerik [telerik.com] and ComponentOne [componentone.com] for example), people are already getting going with asp.net ajax. People who before were making their own ajax code and such are now adapting their contorls for the new asp.net ajax. This is NOT going to woo people over dojo and things like that. it's just going to enable asp.net developers to have a ajax framework that works like the other .net code they are used to writing
  • by RuBLed (995686) on Wednesday January 24, 2007 @01:56AM (#17734272)
    It is a great tool in my opinion and easy to integrate with existing ASP.Net applications.

    But What I really like about Microsoft Ajax for .Net 2.0 was the Ajax Control Toolkit (separately available w/ source)

    http://www.codeplex.com/Release/ProjectReleases.as px?ProjectName=AtlasControlToolkit [codeplex.com]
    • by metsu (601943)
      things like this make me sad about the status of mod_aspdotnet. :(
    • I agree. Say what you will about Microsoft, but I can't remember ever seeing a web calendar as sweet as this one... http://ajax.asp.net/ajaxtoolkit/Calendar/Calendar. aspx [asp.net] Easy navigation by month, year or decade (click on "January, 2007"), and it's a pleasure to use the control. I'm not a fanboy, I just like to see things done well. The control works smoothly in FireFox, but I can't speak for Opera &c.
      • by GeckoX (259575) on Wednesday January 24, 2007 @10:27AM (#17737192)
        Yeah, that's a really good use of AJAX isn't it. Sheesh.

        This is why AJAX gets a bad name. I used Atlas before it evolved into this. And that was the problem there too. Look! It's ALL AJAX! All the time! The amount of overhead with this stuff is insane. They're just using the AJAX hook to sell people on a bunch of bloated controls. That is a fact. When you need AJAX, it's VERY easy to do. There is absolutely NO need whatsoever for a 3rd party toolset or components to do this, and enabling every last control you use with AJAX is just stupid.

        This isn't AJAX, it's an abomination.

        Oh and btw, if that's the nicest calendar you've seen out there...here's a hint: There are literally THOUSANDS of calendar controls out there. And that is certainly nothing new. (And again, absolutely NOTHING that needed AJAX to implement whatsoever.)
        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by Kamidari (866694)

          If you look at the controls, though, a lot of them aren't really AJAX, calendar control included. It's not making calls to a webservice via XMLHTTPRequest or any such thing - just extending a textbox or button via client-side scripting.

          So, I wouldn't call it an abomination, just a misuse of the term AJAX, which I've noticed isn't all that uncommon out there. Companies have to jump on the AJAX bandwagon, after all. ;)

          • by GeckoX (259575)
            While that is true, it's still indicative of the massive bloat these controls add.

            If you implement a simple form in ASP.NET, use a couple of these controls, have post back and view state turned on....the amount of code and size of bloat in bandwidth is simply INSANE.

            By example, I used an atlas calendar control a while back, very similar to the example shown in the article. When I went and implemented my own, it was probably about 1/10th the amount of code that ended up on the client, much cleaner on the bac
        • by Shados (741919)
          I understand your point, however there's always the other side of the coin. Ajax used well enough, or in the case of "Atlas", client side, reusable components (as ASP.NET Ajax is, ironically enough, only 1/10th ajax in its functionality, its much more than that), allow you to scale better: more stuff done on the client = less on the server.

          Bandwidth, I don't know: the core libs of ASP.NET Ajax are quite small. If you can really do all the -useful- stuff in 1/10th of the code without sacreficing -anything-,
          • by GeckoX (259575)
            That's part of the problem though. AJAX.NET does offload a lot to the client, but not really the right things. All that's offloaded is fancy DHTML client side functionality for individual widgets.

            Try something as simple as having two drop that affect each other. Data can be predetermined. Good luck getting them to NOT round trip to the server.

            As with any toolkit, there are trade offs. And I will certainly concede that there are good uses for AJAX.NET. Any VB coder can now write 'AJAX' sites. Coders that won
      • by zobier (585066)
        I can't remember ever seeing a web calendar as sweet as this one...
        it's a pleasure to use the control.
        I'm sorry but I don't think that's a very good JS calendar, jscalendar [dynarch.com] is much better and it works everywhere I've tested it.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    On a client-side Windows system, we have the JavaScript for the AJAX functionality running in the browser. The browser itself, depending on which one is being used, may be running on top of .NET 2.0. .NET is then running on top of the userland Windows subsystems. The userland subsystems are running on top of the NT kernel. The NT kernel is then running on hardware.

    The server side isn't much better. We have an ASP.NET application running on .NET. .NET is running on the userland Windows subsystems. These subs
    • by SurturZ (54334) on Wednesday January 24, 2007 @02:31AM (#17734512) Homepage Journal
      It's like parfait. Who doesn't like parfait?
    • The browser itself, depending on which one is being used, may be running on top of .NET 2.0

      What browser would that be? IE, or FF, or Opera?

      .NET is then running on top of the userland Windows subsystems

      Everything runs on top of that. But thats only via calls to the Windows API. If you were calling the Windows API then you would have to do that anyway.

      The userland subsystems are running on top of the NT kernel. The NT kernel is then running on hardware.

      We should all code in assembly. That's most efficient.

      I find we're also losing reliability as we go higher in the stack.

      That's why I always implement my own quicksort. To stay away from the layers.

    • by nacturation (646836) <nacturation&gmail,com> on Wednesday January 24, 2007 @04:38AM (#17735200) Journal

      The server side isn't much better. We have an ASP.NET application running on .NET. .NET is running on the userland Windows subsystems. These subsystems are running on the NT kernel. The NT kernel is then running on hardware.
      It gets worse. That hardware is running on electricity. Electricity is running often on fossil fuels. Those fossil fuels are running on dinosaurs. Those dinosaurs run on other dinosaurs and vegetation. The vegetation runs on nutrients and photosynthesis. Photosynthesis runs on solar energy. Solar energy is powered by the Sun.

      And I'm not sure what Sun had to do with the .NET framework.
       
      • by Mr_Tulip (639140)
        Touché! Everything runs on SUN!
        • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

          by WED Fan (911325)

          That's Al Gore's next target. He's afraid the Earth, and most notably, the U.S. is using too much Sun. Apparently, we are using so much Sun that it is causing it to overheat. This is causing not only the Earth to heat up, but Mars as well.

          "If we continue to use the Sun as much as we are, it's going to burn out. Where are we going to be then?" Gore further went on to say, "If there is life on Mars, and I'm convinced of the possiblity, we may be killing it. The eco-system of Mars is very delicate and life th

      • Photosynthesis runs on solar energy. Solar energy is powered by the Sun.

        And I'm not sure what Sun had to do with the .NET framework.

        Sun instigated it all by creating Java. See? It all ties back in.

    • by blowdart (31458)

      On a client-side Windows system, we have the JavaScript for the AJAX functionality running in the browser. The browser itself, depending on which one is being used, may be running on top of .NET 2.0.

      What weird browser are you running that sits on top of .net 2.0? Firefox doesn't. IE doesn't. Would you care to backup your claim that "AJAX applications and ASP.NET are highly prone to failure"? They're probably just as prone to failure as a PHP, CGI or JSP application and the most probable cause will be the

      • by walt-sjc (145127)
        And damned if those C++ programs I write aren't sitting on top of a C++ runtime.

        I don't know what kind of funny C++ system you use, but mine compiles down to a native machine code binary that does not require any kind of "runtime" such as a bytecode interpreter, or any other kind of massive framework.

        CGI's can be native, static binaries and when they are, there is very little that can go wrong compared to PHP and JSP, where the interpreter can be changed / upgraded out from under your application. In fact,
        • by KlomDark (6370)
          You still use CGI? Get out of the early 1990s man! My god! How primitive can you get? Sucky sucky lame! Even with FastCGI it's still a shitty hack.
        • by Raenex (947668)

          I don't know what kind of funny C++ system you use, but mine compiles down to a native machine code binary that does not require any kind of "runtime"

          He's talking about the C/C++ runtime library, not a virtual machine. It doesn't matter whether you dynamically or statically link it in, it's there and you are using a "layer".

          CGI's can be native, static binaries and when they are, there is very little that can go wrong compared to PHP and JSP, where the interpreter can be changed / upgraded out from

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by CastrTroy (595695)
      It also gives the developers less of an idea what's really going on. And it gives them less control. If the only way the developers know how to use AJAX is with the MS toolkit, then they're going to have a hard time when it doesn't support something they want to do. Same thing with the way the forms designer works. Sure it makes it really easy that you can drag and drop controls and make a web application really fast, but when you want to do something that it doesn't support, then you're screwed, and if
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by LordEd (840443)
      AJAX applications and ASP.NET are highly prone to failure.

      Can't say much about ajax, but care to support your second statement? Who coded them? Were they coded by a real developer, or by somebody who doesn't know how to use the language?

      Any language is prone to failure if the programmer doesn't know how to code properly.
    • We have an ASP.NET application running on .NET. .NET is running on the userland Windows subsystems. These subsystems are running on the NT kernel. The NT kernel is then running on hardware.

      Just a nit or two but

      a. Calling it the Windows NT kernel is a bit of a misnomer - All the vestiges of the NT kernel were removed for the XP / 2003 rewrite...

      b. the actual process stack looks like this:

      world wide web worker process (w3wp.exe) -> HttpApplication object -> HttpModule object -> .NET runtime -> ISA
  • by Unoti (731964) on Wednesday January 24, 2007 @02:27AM (#17734496) Journal
    Say what you will about it, but it works really well. It's a fast easy way to develop AJAX pages: Visual Studio with Atlas. Of course, it's how Lord Vader would develop software, but it's still good stuff.
  • by Kelson (129150) * on Wednesday January 24, 2007 @02:52AM (#17734654) Homepage Journal
    So, are they specifically targeting IE and Firefox (at least we're finally past the days when they'd just target IE and say to hell with the rest of the world) or are they building it on commonly-available JS+DOM functions that will work in Opera and Safari as well?

    I've been poking around the site, and haven't found anything yet.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Shados (741919)
      IE, Firefox, Safari, Opera the supported browsers as of the release.
      • by Linkiroth (952123)
        Not Lynx!? What the hell?
      • by Kelson (129150) *
        IE, Firefox, Safari, Opera the supported browsers as of the release.

        Thanks. I did eventually spot a reference to IE, Firefox, and Safari (no mention of Opera), but it's good to know that the four major rendering engines (Trident, Gecko, KHTML/WebKit, Presto) are supported.

        • by Shados (741919)
          Yeah, Opera is a newcomer in the list of supported browsers. The developers of the various .NET technologies seem to have some autonomy (more or less) from Microsoft's monopoly machine, and they listen a fair bit to the community. Half the reason its not "IE-only".
    • by KlomDark (6370)
      What's weird is in a lot of the pre-release versions, stuff tended to work better in Firefox than in IE 6. I found that very surprising, but cool. :)
  • I wonder. Is it easy to create custom controls with ASP.NET AJAX? At the moment we're working on a ASP.NET 2.0 based web application. One of the demands of the project is that it's completely AJAX driven. We're researching to see if we can make our own custom controls using JSON. The Javascript makes calls to the server-side code which returns HTML in a string.

    I looked through the source-code of the Ajax Control Toolkit. The source looks clean - Microsoft seems to have hidden all the complex JSON stuff. But
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Shados (741919)
      yeah, the source for a lot of the community controls can be viewed and all. The Extenders are incredibly easy to make, because its most of the point (ASP.NET Ajax's name is misleading, as its main appeal is to be able to make reusable client-side code blocks, ajax is second in line, so I prefered when it was called Atlas...oh well!)
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Bovarchist (782773)
      Yes, it is very easy to implement, even with custom controls. The JSON stuff that you mentioned is built around the .NET postback process and not tied to any individual controls. So any control that posts back to the server (like a series of buttons with a server-side click event) can easily be converted to an "AJAX" control simply by dropping a ScriptManager on the page and wrapping the control in an UpdatePanel.
  • by bad_fx (493443) on Wednesday January 24, 2007 @05:32AM (#17735452) Journal
    Are they eating their own dogfood?

    Part of the reason I ask is I notice the MSDN site has a whole lot of new features, but I've found most of it to be horribly slow and clunky in firefox. I'm interested in whether it is using this, and whether there are other examples to look at within Microsoft?

    Some of the "showcases" look decent, but most of them just seem like toy sites...
    • by timjones (78467)
      Are they eating their own dogfood?
      Doesn't matter. I'm not eating it, and neither are the users of any site I have a hand in developing.

      Come on, guys - how many times you have to be bitten by these monopolists to realize that they can't be trusted? Or put another way, we (developers) write the rules now, and we don't have to let them in! Or as James T. Kirk said: "Let them die!"

      • TinFoilJones said:

        Doesn't matter. I'm not eating it, and neither are the users of any site I have a hand in developing.

        Huh? Did he just...? Are the Obvious Police available?

        Come on, guys - how many times you have to be bitten by these monopolists to realize that they can't be trusted? Or put another way, we (developers) write the rules now, and we don't have to let them in! Or as James T. Kirk said: "Let them die!"

        Are you seriously calling them "monopolists"? How can they be a monopolist in the online,

        • by timjones (78467)
          I'm not trying to have anything both ways. Microsoft's executives ARE monopolists: they have been rightly convincted of being so by Judge Jackson, and in any other fields where they don't (yet) have monopolies, they ARE certainly trying to acquire them. For them, this is their goal, and as bad as that it, they see nothing wrong with that.

          It doesn't matter if Microsoft has 100% stranglehold in a particular subspecialty or even none at all. Their entire mindset (backed up by long, painful histories) ma

    • by Mia'cova (691309)
      I can't speak for this particular framework but Microsoft pretty well dogfoods anything they can. I'd be surprised if they didn't have at least a small handful of internal teams trying it out.
  • I used to be big into PHP web programming, but this was before AJAX got popular. Now I'm thinking of revisiting web programming, changing my mentality to write code with AJAX in mind can be kind of daunting. This toolkit might be the motivation I need as the learning curve seems it might be a little easier than trying to develop in PHP given that I've been out of the loop for a while. Plus, intellisense is friggin awesome.
    • Try Zend studio with PHP. It's "intellisense" rivals VS.Net's.

      Intellisense isn't intrinsic to .Net in any way, its just an IDE feature. One that is shared by many other (better IMHO) IDEs.

      I've been using VS.Net since the original beta. I just switched career paths to get away from ASP.Net. Now I'm doing almost exclusively PHP, though we do have some C# work coming up.

      AJAX isn't intrinsic to any server side language, its a browser feature. You can code AJAX stuff just as easily (easier IMHO) in php as you ca
      • by CastrTroy (595695)
        I've tried Zend Studio, and it's intellisense does not rival VS.Net. Although It's better than any other PHP IDE i've tried.
  • by WED Fan (911325) <akahige@NOSpaM.trashmail.net> on Wednesday January 24, 2007 @10:33AM (#17737248) Homepage Journal

    I've been playing with this since this last summer. It's come a long way. A few Anti-AJAX friends of mine, who honestly, have been using AJAX concepts for years, but didn't know someone had put a pretty ribbon on it and called it AJAX, really like the ASP.NET AJAX. I think what caught them was the RAD ability now.

    I like it because I have customers who wanted a more Windows Forms based design for their web-based applications.

    The great thing here is, it is capable of turning SharePoint into a really slick platform. I only wish it worked on SharePoint 2.0 the way it works on 3.0, since I still have customers using the older platform.

  • but does it run on Linux?
  • by Iamthefallen (523816) <Gmail name: Iamthefallen> on Wednesday January 24, 2007 @11:54AM (#17738244) Homepage Journal
    From their Migrate RC to RTM [asp.net] doc.
    The ASP.NET AJAX validator controls that were part of the RC release have been removed. You must remove the following registration entries for those controls from the section and remove any instances of these controls in your pages.

    Oh goodie, let me just go back and do that and undo my previous days work. Apparently there will be a fix in the near future [asp.net], but for now there's a bandaid [msdn.com] available.
  • Let us look at what AJAX is, HTML, CSS, Javascript, XML, XSLT; And some XSD, for those of us that are washed. I prefer not to use the COM objects, because, well, I prefer not to be "Browser Locked" to an older obsolete browser. I RTFA and found nothing to indicate that Microsoft had added any more to its dotNet product than it had before. If I look for ASP in AJAX, it is not there. If I look for upgrades to maybe XSLT 2.0, or maybe CSS 3.0? Nothing is upgraded. Where am I wrong?
    • by Shados (741919)
      Its a....framework. As in a toolbox to make development easier. Extenders to the web service framework to support JSON (is that how its spelled?), a bunch of ASP.NET controls for callbacks instead of postbacks, a javascript librairy. Its a framework to ease the use of ajax, thus "an anticipated ajax framework". Do we have a different definition of what a framework is? Its not an Ajax Platform, its an Ajax Framework.
      • by Raenex (947668)
        JSON (is that how its spelled?)

        Good grief, you're on the net. You should never post a question like that. Take a second and google it.

  • Isn't the first thing Security people tell people to do to protect against a browser vulnerabilty to disable Javascript? There goes your functionality!
    • by Hamfist (311248)
      AJAX is getting used for many company Intranets to simplify IT support and service delivery. Hosts in the company network will be trusted hosts so Javascript can be left on. Once you are certain that a public service can also be trusted, include them in your list of trusted hosts. If you follow random links off of the pirate bay, turn js off....
  • AJAX isn't all that new. It's just a different way of thinking about how the browser interacts with the server. You *could* make your server programming language handle all this AJAX code to call server-side functions from the client, but wouldn't it be better to see the big picture? JavaScript can be used as more of a client, and the server can be more of... well... a server. Also, people tend to be over-using AJAX, which then brings the web browsing experience to its knees.

    I think it's better to just
  • For someone who's just getting into doing .NET development full time and coming from a PHP based development environment I'm really happy to see it. Nothing worse than my old employer coming at me with a different AJAX suite every week. If its as easy as everything else I've done with ASP.NET then it'll be a wonderful treat.

You can do this in a number of ways. IBM chose to do all of them. Why do you find that funny? -- D. Taylor, Computer Science 350

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