AJAX for ASP.NETArriving one step at a time, and perhaps only as the buzz is cooling a touch, Microsoft announces the next (beta) version of their take on an AJAX framework. And though they have in the past released proprietary scripting solutions (JScript, for example), Microsoft has released a version of the framework -- Microsoft ASP.NET AJAX v1.0 (previously called Atlas) -- which talks about multi-browser and multi-platform support. However, there's little surprise that Firefox is not widely discussed.ASP.NET AJAX is a set of technologies to add AJAX (Asynchronous JavaScript And XML) support primarily to ASP.NET 2.0 and Visual Studio 2005 environments. A client-side script framework, server extensions and the UI control toolkit -- all separate downloads, are available now. Previously we have covered a full range of AJAX for ASP.NET options, which included things like Michael Schwarz's Ajax.NET free AJAX library for .NET v1.1 and v2.0. Microsoft's budding carnation is a different and evolving beast with more sophistication and even some fanfare about multi-platform support. Developers can give their own jungle roar with a set of AJAX tools to develop richer web clients that work well with ASP.NET 2.0 applications. One immediate downside, however, is that this new release represents some major changes in the framework, so any existing ATLAS code implementations will likely have to be reworked. Facing that challenge is eased a bit via the Atlas to AJAX 1.0 Migration Guide. Some confusion has been expressed by developers regarding the naming of three separate downloads of toolkits -- ASP.NET AJAX (Beta), ASP.NET AJAX CTP, and ASP.NET AJAX Toolkit -- for the new release. But initial reviews are generally positive. The three toolkit components are: * The ASP.NET AJAX v1.0 "Core" download contains the features fully supported by Microsoft Product Support, has a 10-year Microsoft support license, includes support for the core AJAX type-system, networking stack, component model, extender base classes, and the server-side functionality to integrate within ASP.NET (including the popular ScriptManager, UpdatePanel, and Timer controls). * The ASP.NET AJAX CTP (Community Technology Preview) download. This contains additional higher-level features that were in previous CTPs of "Atlas," but which won't be in the fully-supported 1.0 "core" distribution. * The ASP.NET AJAX Control Toolkit. This kit contains 28 free AJAX-enabled controls that are built on top of the ASP.NET AJAX 1.0 "Core" download. The project is collaborative shared source and built by a combination of Microsoft and non-Microsoft developers. Access additional information, documentation, and downloads at ajax.asp.net.