NOTE: This was cross posted from here.

I’ve been covering ASP.NET AJAX and what used to be called the “Microsoft Ajax Library” ever since the first “Atlas” code drops.  ASP.NET AJAX has always offered Web Forms developers a relatively simple way of Ajax enabling their applications without forcing them to change how they write them through the the core Ajax Server Controls (ScriptManager, Timer, UpdatePanel, UpdateProgress), Ajax Extender Controls, and the 40 additional Server Controls in the ASP.NET AJAX Control Toolkit

What’s been lost in all of this is that all the magic that makes these server-side coding capabilities possible is what used to be called the “Microsoft Ajax Library.”  It’s a cross-browser JavaScript library that has always been available to use WITHOUT ASP.NET.  It’s just a set of JavaScript files that can be used with ANY web development technology.  Unfortunately, many people don’t realize it because there has been so much focus on ASP.NET AJAX (i.e. the integration of this core set of JavaScript libraries with ASP.NET to make AJAX for ASP.NET Web Forms easier).

Ok, on to my point about love and jQuery.  The next release of the ASP.NET Ajax Library has a heavy focus on making client-side Ajax programming easier. I’ve become a big fan of using jQuery and the jQuery syntax for client-side JavaScript.  There is very little overlap between jQuery and the ASP.NET Ajax Library.  They are a very complimentary match.  One of the many new capabilities in the ASP.NET Ajax Library is support for using the jQuery syntax.  There is so much “good stuff” in the next release for client-side Ajax developers.  I strongly encourage you to check out this PDC video:

Microsoft AJAX Library, jQuery, and Microsoft Visual Studio 2010

If you love jQuery, then you are going to love the next ASP.NET Ajax Library release. You not only get jQuery syntax support, but you get a simplified approach to loading scripts, a rich client-side templating / databinding / “interacting with server data” framework, the ability to instantiate the AJAX Control Toolkit controls easily using client-side code (again using the jQuery syntax), and more.

Here are some essential getting started links:

http://ajax.codeplex.com/

http://www.asp.net/ajaxlibrary/

http://www.asp.net/ajaxlibrary/learn.ashx

http://www.asp.net/ajaxlibrary/apps.ashx

The “learn” link above is the best place to start to wrap your head around all the new capabilities in the upcoming release.  If you want to jump to the jQuery integration, take a look at:

http://www.asp.net/ajaxlibrary/HOW%20TO%20Instantiate%20Controls%20using%20jQuery.ashx

http://www.asp.net/ajaxlibrary/HOW%20TO%20Load%20jQuery.ashx

http://www.asp.net/ajaxlibrary/HOW%20TO%20Use%20the%20Calendar%20Control.ashx

Bottom line…  If you are planning on building an Ajax application, whether you are a .NET developer or not, then you really should check out what’s available in the ASP.NET Ajax Library.  Trust me, you are going to like itSmile.

-Marc