Asynchronous JavaScript + XML (AJAX) is essentially a branding term for a bundle of common web technologies. These include JavaScript, DHTML and a utility object called XMLHTTP. The short story is that in combination, these tools reduce the need for web browser applications to reconnect to a web server every time additional data is downloaded. The means for accomplishing this have been around for quite some time. Suddenly though, and thanks largely to applications like Google Maps, its all the rage. Not to be left behind, Microsoft has announced project Atlas for ASP.NET 2.0 and for ASP.NET 1.1, we already have Michael Schwarz's Ajax.Net.According to one Atlas project member, "What we’ve set out to do is to make it dramatically easier for anyone to build AJAX-style web applications that deliver rich, interactive, and personalized experiences. Developers should be able to build these applications without great expertise in client scripting; they should be able to integrate their browser UI seamlessly with the rest of their applications; and they should be able to develop and debug these applications with ease." Atlas is being developed on top of ASP.NET 2.0 and is slated to contain the following components: Atlas Client Script Framework The Atlas Client Script Framework is an extensible, object-oriented 100% JavaScript client framework that allows you to easily build AJAX-style browser applications with rich UI and connectivity to web services. With Atlas, you will be able to write web applications that use a lot of DHTML, JavaScript, and XMLHTTP, without having to be an expert in any of these technologies. The Atlas Client Script Framework will work on all modern browsers, and with any web server. It also won’t require any client software installations, only standard script references in the web page. The Atlas Client Script Framework will include the following components:
  • An extensible core framework that adds features to JavaScript such as lifetime management, inheritance, multicast event handlers, and interfaces
  • A base class library for common features such as rich string manipulation, timers, and running tasks
  • A UI framework for attaching dynamic behaviors to HTML in a cross-browser way
  • A network stack to simplify server connectivity and access to web services
  • A set of controls for rich UI, such as auto-complete textboxes, popup panels, animation, and drag and drop
  • A browser compatibility layer to address scripting behavior differences between browsers.
ASP.NET Server Controls for Atlas