VSLive! Las Vegas

June 19, 2006

Next week I will be presenting a session on building AJAX style applications using ASP.NET 2.0 and ATLAS at VSLive! in Las Vegas.

I presented a similar session on AJAX at the VSLive! in Orlando  last year (you can find a recording of my last year's talk here). Of course, much has changed since then. Not only have the development tools and frameworks for AJAX evolved since then, there are a whole new set of technologies (or buzzwords as some might call them) that have appeared on the horizon. Technologies including AJAX, Mashups, Wikis, RSS, SOAP, REST, commonly referred to as "Web 2.0", are collectively changing the way we build web applications. At the crux of all this is one very simple, and yet powerful shift – ability to program against the web resources. Up until now, web applications typically access content (HTML, media files etc. ) from a source and display them in the browser. The "programmable web" paradigm allows users to extract information from one or more web resouces and combine it in interesting ways.

My last year's presentation was focused on AJAX basics and how ASP.NET 2.0 supported the AJAX programming model. I also talked about the development challenges in building AJAX style application (Refer to my .NET Developer Journal article for more information)

Atlas Architecture 

For my upcoming session, I have included a discussion on some of the aforementioned "Web 2.0" technologies. I will talk more in detail about Atlas.   Atlas is a framework for building new class web applications. It supports Client centric and Server centric models for development. Server centric model is very similar to the current ASP.NET model where the UI logic is largely controlled by the server. Atlas enhances the server centric model by enabling capabilities such as partial update of pages, auto complete text boxes, drag and drop behavior etc. I really like the concept of extenders in Atlas. Extenders, as the name suggests extend the functionality of existing ASP.NET Server controls.

Client centric model, on the other hand, is for folks who want to host the UI logic in the browser. Atlas runtime makes this task easier by providing multiple layers of abstraction over the core JavaScript environment. For instance, it provides a browser compatibility layer that hides the differences between browsers. Atlas also supports a rich networking layer that  makes it easy to invoke web services. Finally, Atlas provides a rich set of library classes that includes StringBuilder, Data Binding, Templates etc.

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