ASP.NET 3.5 Extensions Preview : The Official Microsoft ASP.NET Site

Get it while it's hot - the ASP.NET 3.5 Extensions Preview is now available from the ASP.NET web site. Contained in this *preview* release are the following bits (description taken directly from the ASP.NET 3.5 Extensions web site)

ASP.NET MVC

ASP.NET MVC provides model-view-controller (MVC) support to the existing ASP.NET 3.5 runtime, which enables developers to more easily take advantage of this design pattern. Benefits include the ability to achieve and maintain a clear separation of concerns, as well as facilitate test driven development (TDD).

The ASP.NET MVC Toolkit provides HTML rendering helpers and dynamic data support for MVC.

ASP.NET Dynamic Data

ASP.NET Dynamic Data helps developers build a fully customizable, data-driven app quickly. It provides a rich scaffolding framework that allows rapid data driven development without writing code, yet it is easily extendible using the traditional ASP.NET programming model.

ASP.NET AJAX

New additions to ASP.NET AJAX include support for managing browser history (Back button support).

ADO.NET Entity Framework

ADO.NET Entity Framework is a new modeling framework that enables developers to define a conceptual model of a database schema that closely aligns to a real world view of the information. Benefits include easier to understand and easier to maintain application code that is shielded from underlying database schema changes.

ADO.NET Data Services

ADO.NET Data Services provide new services that find, manipulate and deliver data over the web using simple URIs. Benefits include an easy and flexible way to access data over the web, while enabling the separation of presentation and data access code.

Silverlight Controls for ASP.NET

You can integrate the rich behavior of Microsoft Silverlight into your Web application by using two new ASP.NET server controls: a MediaPlayer server control that enables easy integration of media sources such as audio (WMA) and video (WMV) into your Web application, and a Silverlight server control that allows an ASP.NET page to reference both XAML objects and their event handlers.

If you have been following the ASP.NET Futures program, the ASP.NET Entity Framework, and the Astoria project, this is the next evolution of all those toolkits rolled up into one big package (which is another interesting subject for debate - do we need all these frameworks rolled up together?  couldn't they have been released separately?)

I'm particularly interested in the MVC Framework, the ADO.NET Entity Framework and the Silverlight controls.  Although the Silverlight controls are not any sort of Rocket Science, they do make it dead easy to incorporate Silverlight content into your ASP.NET applications without having to go through a bunch of extra deployment hoops.  The Entity Framework, as I've mentioned before, is a bit controversial, but I'm curious to have a look at this update (I'm presuming that this is an updated version) to see how far it has come. 

The BMOC, however, is the ASP.NET MVC Framework.  Debuting at the ALT.NET conference a few months ago, there has been a LOT of talk about the public release of this framework, and people have been emailing me for weeks about when they'd be able to get their hands on it.  Now that day has finally arrived so get your copy before they run out (kidding).  Do me one favor though - after you get your first MVC app up and running (I'm hoping that will be tonight for me, if I can get all my Boy Scout stuff done quickly) post a comment to my blog and let me know the URL so that I can go check it out. 

It will be interesting to see the adoption (or lack thereof) for the new ASP.NET MVC Framework.  Many of those I know that are either critical of Microsoft, critical of ASP.NET, or critical of both have talked about the ASP.NET MVC Framework with guarded optimism.  I hope this doesn't disappoint them.  Expect to see your user group - especially any ASP.NET user groups, featuring talks on the ASP.NET MVC Framework in the near future. 

In true community spirit, I just read that Jeffrey Palermo and Eric Hexter have started a CodePlex-based open source project to contribute to the ASP.NET MVC framework MvcContrib, available at mvccontrib.org.  If you're interested in contributing, sign up for the CodePlex site and submit some code!

So - go download the new extensions and the MVC toolkit, go through the Quickstarts, and let me know what you think!

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