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I got this recently in an email from a developer friend.

 

“Is Microsoft committed to Ajax? If so, why is development so slow? (Yeah I know, Silverlight, that means nothing until it is at least version 2 and wide spread.)

I am seriously disappointed, and I think others are too. After the 1.0 excitement, there is nothing to get excited about. (What's up with ASP.NET Futures anyway, how about right now?)”

I guess that it's hard to keep up with all the new stuff in our profession, so I thought I would hi-light some of the new AJAX related stuff that we've been building, especially in ASP.NET 3.5 and Visual Studio 2008 (currently in Beta) as an illustration our investments in AJAX enabling technologies.

  • Core Integration of ASP.NET AJAX - ASP.NET AJAX is no longer an add-on to ASP.NET. It is now a first class concept like XML Web Services or Data Access. This means full support, full feature lifecycle, etc.
  • Full and Dynamic JavaScript Intellisense support in Visual Studio 2008. This includes the JavaScript language and all the ASP.NET AJAX Extensions as well as dynamic support for the code that you write.
  • First Class JavaScript Debugging Support in Visual Studio 2008, complete with Break Points, Watch, Immediates, Call Stack, everything you would expect from a first class debugger PLUS, both design time and run time code images so you can drill down into your applications exact JavaScript state and collection at runtime no matter how much dynamic JavaScript is involved in your application.
  • JSON, RSS, and POX support for WCF so that all your WCF services can be AJAX Callable.
  • The AJAX Controls Toolkit has grown to 34 controls.
  • 64 ASP.NET AJAX  How Do I Videos offering tutorial and prescriptive guidance on how to use the features of ASP.NET AJAX
  • Forthcoming soon....new ASP.NET AJAX controls like the history control, selector support, and other improvements on both the client and server side.

To me that seems like allot of work in a fairly short time (since ASP.NET AJAX 1.0 was released.)

What's with the "Futures" ???

The current "Futures" include ....

  • History support for the Safari browser, inclusion of “titles”, encoding and encrypting of server-side history state and the ability to handle history in the client without a server requirement.
  • CSS Selectors APIs have been modified to be applicable to W3C recommendations.
  • A script resource extraction tool that allows you to create script files on disk that originate from embedded resources in assemblies.

The reason the Futures are not "Right Now" is simple.

Developers have asked to be more involved in defining the end products we create. "Futures" releases gives folks the chance to get their hands on VERY early bits of the new stuff that we're working on, and that means you can provide feedback early enough in the process to effect the final outcome.

Most folks tell me that they LOVE the fact that we're being so transparent in much of our development process.

So in short - YES :) We're very serious about AJAX !