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Atlas and Atlas Control Toolkit Introduction

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What is “Atlas”? According to “Atlas” official site, “Atlas” “is a free framework for building a new generation of richer, more interactive, highly personalized standards-based Web applications.

This new Web development technology from Microsoft integrates client script libraries with the ASP.NET 2.0 server-based development framework. In addition, ‘Atlas’ offers you the same type of development platform for client-based Web pages that ASP.NET offers for server-based pages. And because ‘Atlas’ is an extension of ASP.NET, it is fully integrated with server-based services.

“Atlas” makes it possible to easily take advantage of AJAX techniques on the Web and enables you to create ASP.NET pages with a rich, responsive UI and server communication. However, “Atlas” isn’t just for ASP.NET. You can take advantage of the rich client framework to easily build client-centric Web applications that integrate with any backend data provider”. You can find more about “Atlas” here.

What is “Atlas” Control Tookkit? According to “Atlas” official site, “the “Atlas” Control Toolkit is a collection of samples and components that makes it easier then ever to build and consume rich client-side “Atlas” controls and extenders.

The toolkit provides both ready to go samples and a powerful SDK to simplify the creation and re-use of your own custom controls and extenders.” You can find more about “Atlas” Control Toolkit and download it for free here.

Why is “Atlas” Control Toolkit cool? According to Scott Guthrie’s Atlas Control Toolkit (And Why It is Really Cool), there’re 3 reasons:

  • It is the start of what is going to be a very large set of (50-100 useful, high-quality) controls that make common Ajax scenarios super easy. All of these controls can be used on a page without having to write any code or custom JavaScript, and have Visual Web Developer and Visual Studio toolbox and WYSIWYG support built-in.
  • It provides an easy developer framework to build Atlas-enabled controls. Included within the Toolkit are a set of .VSI templates that help get developers started building Atlas controls, as well as a set of base-classes that you can use to easily build your own useful re-usable controls with minimal code required. The toolkit is designed to help make the overall control developer experience straight-forward – when you create a new control it will provide templates for the client-side Atlas JavaScript component, a server control class that can integrate with it, as well as a class that you can use to provide WYSIWYG designer and rich property grid editor support within VS 2005 and Visual Web Developer. All of the controls in the toolkit are obviously shipped with full source as well, so you can look to see how they are built and re-use techniques/source when building your own controls.
  • A collaborative, open-source model is used to develop it, specifically with a source control repository set up on the Internet which allows both Microsoft and non-Microsoft developers to work on the project together. This means you’ll be able to contribute controls of your own to the toolkit, make improvements to existing ones, and fix bugs.

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Kenny Tran is the author of the “Kenny and .NET” blog.

Atlas and Atlas Control Toolkit Introduction
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