Microsoft has entered the rich web applications arena with its recent announcements of various new tools and extensions offerings, which include beta 2 of ASP.NET Ajax 1.0. The software titan’s move in the promising-looking web-enabling applications market should prove a boost for the sector, and will dovetail with the enterprise trend towards service-oriented architecture.
Microsoft recently announced the release of .NET Framework 3.0, beta 2 of ASP.NET AJAX 1.0, Release To Market (RTM) of Visual Studio 2005 Tools for Office for the 2007 Microsoft Office System, and Community Technical Preview (CTP) of Visual Studio 2005 Extensions for the .NET Framework 3.0, and on 14th November, RTM of Visual Studio 2005 Team Edition (VSTS) for Database Professionals.
However, it took the developer community to pick up on this extension to create a generic programming model for web-enabled applications. Today, Ajax has become the favored approach for applications that reach across the internet, irrespective of browser and with virtually zero client-side footprints.
The rise of Ajax caught many established industry players by surprise, including Microsoft, but now the giant has gone full circle and, with the latest releases of developer tools that anticipate the launch of Windows Vista, web-enablement is at the center of developer strategy.
ASP.NET Ajax, formerly the Atlas project, takes ASP.NET 2.0 and adds Ajax extensions plus the Microsoft Ajax library. This means that Microsoft technology-built websites can now be easily transformed into instant response web pages, with updates taking place in one part of the page while other parts remain static, without the whole page needing to be refreshed.
However, business needs tend to require a more heavyweight approach, whether for internal applications or business-to-business, and for this scenario the .NET Framework 3.0 provides key extensions to the existing .NET 2.0 including Windows Presentation Foundation, the rich web applications tooling using Microsoft’s XAML mark-up language, and featuring the Microsoft Expression suite of graphics tools.
VSTS is also gaining a new role for database professionals, as the application lifecycle management platform is steadily growing its user base.
It appears that the stage is set for 2007 to be the year for web-enabling applications. With Microsoft’s entry into the arena, it adds a heavyweight player, and dovetails with the move within enterprises to service-oriented architecture.
Source: OpinionWire by Butler Group (www.butlergroup.com)