ASP.NET 2.0 Resources

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ASP.NET 2.0 "Atlas" Control Toolkit

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.

AJAX which stands for Asynchronous Javascript and XML is a programming approach that adds a layer of abstraction between the browser and the Web Server. This layer, also referred to as the AJAX engine, handles the browser requests on the client side and connects back to the web server asynchronously whenever required. The asynchronous nature of communications allows users to continue interacting with the application while the data is being fetched by the engine, allowing for better user experience. Atlas is a set of client libraries and Web Server Controls and Web Services that allows you to realize advantages of AJAX while significantly reducing its complexity and development and maintenance pains. Please note that Atlas is not just another implementation of AJAX, Atlas is an evolution of ideas that form the core of AJAX style of programming.

The Atlas features are quite outstanding. It ads object-oriented style of programming to JavaScript, such as a type system, data types, namespaces, events etc. Adding Object Orientation to JavaScript allows you to improve the quality, reusability and maintainability of the code. Atlas libraries have capabilities for handling most of the browser compatibility issues so you do not have to write browser specific scripts. Atlas libraries provide capabilities for handling remote procedure calls. The libraries manage the complexity of making asynchronous calls reducing a call to just a few lines of scripting code.

The following controls and extenders are available in the "Atlas" Control Toolkit...

CascadingDropDown

It allows you to easily link drop downs together. Asynchonously populate them without postbacks! Each time the selection of one the DropDownList controls changes, the CascadingDropDown makes a call to a specified web service to retrieve the list of values for the next DropDownList in the set. CascadingDropDown enables a common scenario in which the contents of one list depends on the selection of another list and does so without having to embed the entire data set in the page or transfer it to the client at all.

Collapsible Panel

Allows you to easily add Collapsible sections to your web page. This extender targets any ASP.NET Panel control. The page developer specifies which control(s) on the page should be the open/close controller for the panel, or the panel can be set to automatically expand and/or collapse when the mouse cursor moves in or out of it, respectively.

DragPanel

The DragPanelExtender allows users to easily add "draggability" to their controls. The DragPanelExtender targets any ASP.NET panel, and takes an additional parameter that signifies the control to use as the "drag handle".

ReorderList

ReorderList is an "Atlas" control that implements a bulleted, data-bound list with items that can be reordered interactively. To reorder the items in the list, the user simply drags the item's control bar to its new location. Graphical feedback shows where the item will be placed as it is dragged by the user. The data source is updated after the item is dropped in its new location.

There are also other AJAX controls and extenders available: ConfirmButton, HoverMenu, PopupControl, TextBoxWatermark and ToggleButton. In addition to the controls and extenders already mentioned above, the toolkit also contains helper classes that eliminate many of the steps needed to create "Atlas" controls or extenders so you can quickly produce the code. The toolkit also contains Visual Studio 2005 Templates for Visual Basic and Visual C# users to create their own controls and extenders.

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