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Enhancing ASP.NET application with Microsoft AJAX

Jul 21, 2015

Today there’s a new generation of web applications that behave more like Windows applications than traditional web pages. These applications refresh themselves quickly and flicker-free and sometimes include slick new features such as animation and drag-and-drop. Notable examples include web-based e-mail applications such as Gmail and mapping tools such as Google Maps. Other websites—from Facebook to Flickr—use rich features more subtly to improve responsiveness and add frills.

This new breed of web applications uses a set of design practices and technologies known as Ajax. Ajax is programming shorthand for a set of techniques that create more-responsive, dynamic pages. One of the hallmarks of Ajax is the ability to refresh part of the page while leaving the rest untouched.

Ajax isn’t really a whole new technology. More accurately, it’s a set of techniques, some of which extend existing practices. For example, you’ve already seen quite a few ASP.NET controls that use client-side JavaScript to provide a richer experience, such as the validation controls and the Menu controls. However,Ajax pages use much more JavaScript than normal, they often require interactions between controls, and they often request additional information from the web server by using a special browser object called XMLHttpRequest, which is available to client-side JavaScript code.

The first and best example of what ASP.NET AJAX can really do is the ASP.NET AJAX Control Toolkit. The ASP.NET AJAX Control Toolkit is a joint project between Microsoft and the ASP.NET community. It consists of dozens of controls that use the ASP.NET AJAX libraries to create sophisticated effects.

The ASP.NET AJAX Control Toolkit has a lot going for it:

  1. It’s completely free.
  2. It includes full source code, which is helpful if you’re ambitious enough to want to create your own custom controls that use ASP.NET AJAX features.
  3. It uses extenders that enhance the standard ASP.NET web controls. That way, you don’t have to replace all the controls on your web pages—instead, you simply plug in the new bits of functionality that you need.

SynapseIndia (CEO: Shamit Khemka)