October 25, 2006

Working with the newest drops of ASP.NET AJAX

My experience with ASP.NET AJAX (formerly Atlas) prior to the last 24 hours really only involved downloading and installing the various versions that came out, watching a couple of the videos, and checking out some of the sample projects. I had made use of some various Javascript libraries in the past for some "wait screens" on a past project or two, but not specifically Atlas - they were .NET 1.1 projects. I also used to be pretty good with javascript back in the day when we hand-coded form validation in our ASP pages with Javascript.

Yesterday I got tasked with coming up with some UI updates to a very visible page that makes use of ASP.NET AJAX. Yeah, I know, me doing something with the UI, something that involves design! Well, I've always heard that simpler is better - and I'm a simple kind of guy so ...

Last night I downloaded all the new drops: ASP.NET AJAX v1.0 Beta, ASP.NET AJAX CTP, and the ASP.NET AJAX Control Toolkit. Opened and compiled the toolkit and then began looking at some of the controls and examples. Before too long I settled on the Animation Extender to dislay an absolutely positioned div with a higher z-index then the rest of the content along with a Drop Shadow and off I went. About 12 hours later I was finished. Actually about 2 hours in I was 80% finished - I spent the remaining time chasing down issues with using the controls in a databinding scenario.

Implementation details will come in a later post (too busy getting ready for my presentation now), but I will share my thoughts on Atlas to this point based on my limited experience. I told some co-workers today that I think it is just like other .NET stuff in the early days - if you stick to the basics then you will find plenty of examples, blog posts, forum entries, etc. The more you get off the beaten path, though, the more you are on your own. I am pleased with the controls and examples that have been provided, though. I was able to put together a nice-looking (believe it or not) and slick-working AJAX enabled page.

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  1.  avatar Joe Wirtley says:

    I'm also using ASP.NET Ajax on a project, which broke several things with the beta release.  I second the opinion that it seems to work if you're doing basic stuff, but becomes dificult otherwise.  I have a scenario where a user control works in an update panel on a page, but does not work with the same user control within a wizard... after experimenting with various things, I think I finally found a combination that works, which means getting rid of the wizard for now.  Not what I wanted to be doing with the last day...

  2.  avatar Ryan says:

    We made the upgrade over the weekend from Atlas to ASP.NET AJAX. On one of current project we're using several instances of it, one being the rounded corners control. The updated version for this control seems to be buggier than the first. There aren't too many examples out there of it being used in anything other than the simplest instance. I finally was able to come up with a crazy work-a-round. I think I'll be sticking to using images for any intricate layouts.

  3.  avatar says:

    I tried using the Rounded Corner control along with the animations and Drop Shadow and it didn't work. Completely squished the div down to like 10 pixels. I figured it was because I was using an absolutely positioned div rather than a "real" control, but who knows.

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