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Microsoft Details Its Plans For The Future Of ASP.NET

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Microsoft Details Its Plans For The Future Of ASP.NET
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With the launch of Windows 8, Microsoft has been updating all of its development tools to help developers get the most out of the new OS. The company has shipped a number of products including Visual Studio 2012 and .NET 4.5, but there’s still much to be done, especially with ASP.NET.

In late October, Microsoft finally unveiled its roadmap for proposed updates and additions to ASP.NET and Web Tools 2012.2. There’s a number of new features that developers can look forward to, but Microsoft warns that these additions are only in the planning stage now and may not see the light of day for some time.

First up is SignalR, a new addition to the ASP.NET family. Microsoft says that it adds “real-time functionality to web applications using WebSockets and other down-level transports.” The first release of SignalR will add item templates and hubs to an ASP.NET application and integrate with both ASP.NET MVC and ASP.NET Web API. You can find out more at the SignalR GitHub directory.

Speaking of Web API, Microsoft will be extending to add “richer OData functionality, expand support for Windows Store Apps and enable simple tracing and monitoring.” To be more specific, the following features will be added in the future:

  • OData – Rich OData query support will be brought back using the new OData URI parser. Developers will be able to control OData query semantics. OData endpoints can be implemented over any data source using the new OData formatter, metadata controller, and modeling capabilities.
  • Windows Store Support – Client side support for Windows Store Apps will be expanded. In addition to HttpClient class there will be support for using Web API formatters.
  • Tracing – Developers and administrators need the ability to monitor and diagnose issues with Web API based services. Web API gives developers and administrators visibility into web APIs including simple tracing and support for integrated logging using System.Diagnostics, ETW, NLog and Log4Net.
  • Help Page – Web API help page generation will make it easy to generate rich, web-based documentation for your web APIs including the resource URIs, allowed HTTP verbs, expected parameters, and sample message payloads.
  • MVC is also receiving a number of new additions in the future. These updates are intended to help developers build ASP.NET applications that ‘feature Azure, Single Page Applications, real time updates using SignalR and Facebook integration.” The proposed updates include:

  • Single Page Application (SPA) Template and Tooling – We are working on the next generation version of support for writing rich interactive applications also known as Single Page Applications, SPA. In this release we are building an MVC-based template that uses Knockout.js and Web API controllers to show many of the best practices for building such an application. This will include tooling updates for Visual Studio that make client side development easier with support for LESS, CoffeeScript, syntax highlighting for Knockout.js, HandleBars, Mustache, Paste JSON as Classes, and more. For information on our design goals check this PowerPoint deck.
  • Facebook – New project template for making Facebook applications using ASP.NET. Developers will be able to go to the Facebook Developer Center and get an app. Then apply the app keys inside the template, define which Facebook user fields your app requires and the template will handle authentication, app permissions, keep user data up to date and provide easy access to the C# Facebook SDK.
  • MVC Mobile Templates – The RTM versions of Mobile templates contained caching bugs. The caching problem has been fixed in this version.
  • On a final note, Microsoft is looking to add an ASP.NET membership system. Microsoft says the new system would “provide first class support for modern methods of authentication (such as OpenAuth/OpenID), as well as local username and password.” The new system will also allow developers to “easily change the underlying storage mechanism to SQL server, Azure Table or any other store of choice.”

    Once again, it’s important to note that these plans are not set in stone, and can change. Microsoft welcomes any developer input at its ASP.NET UserVoice site to help determine the future of the development platform. You can help contribute to the future of ASP.NET here as Microsoft made it open source back in March. You can also download the latest Fall 2012 ASP.NET update preview here.

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