Atlas and other Ajax libraries



Just trying to get some opinions out there...
There are tons of Ajax libraries out there... Ajax.NET Professional,
ComfortASP.NET, ZumiPage, etc. etc... Microsoft has their own too,
Atlas. I've been looking at these and certainly there needs to be a
solution that's integrated with MS.NET, easy to use, and well supported
to production environments. That's why I ask -- can there ever
possibly be a real (free or paid) competitor to Microsoft's Atlas
solution? Surely, one day soon, Microsoft will release 3.0 with or
without Atlas, and Atlas will come out of beta and be the ultimate.
Who can compete? Surely, it will allow you to drag-drop a control in
Visual Studio, add some data elements to it, and make it Ajax-enabled.
It will be supported, updated with the next versions, and always VS
compatible. So, why go with another solution?
I've always taken the stand to use as few 3rd party solutions as
possible. If I buy a cool menu system, one day it becomes incompatible
with the "next" Microsoft release, or it's not supported anymore, or
the author decided to turn it into some huge library with all sorts of
licensed crap I don't need. I've played with Ajax.NET Professional and
it looks great. I can immediately imagine a bunch of uses for my .NET
2.0 project. I just feel more comfortable using a MS product inside
VS2005, like Atlas. The integration is just cleaner and more
supported. It's like the old days where everyone made ASP controls --
buttons, grids, listboxes, everything. You could load yourself up on
3rd party controls to enhance your website. Then MS made all that
stuff obsolete in one release. You can do all that stuff and more
without having to purchase another product and worry about support and
upgrades. I feel the same will be true with Atlas. There's no way, in
my mind, that MS will overlook all these cool controls out there
written by these Ajax wizards.
I'm rambling a bit, but what does everyone else think about this? Is
it time to wait for an official release of Atlas? Only an official
release can be used in a production environment. Are we talking .NET
3.0? Are we waiting a year for it?



Atlas promises to be very full - featured, but it only works for .NET 2.0
and it is also very large, as weill as producing a very large amount of
javascript includes.

I've had my best results with Anthem.Net. MagicAjax is a close second. Both
of these are indeed free, sourcecode available, both on They
both work with either ASP.NET 1.1 or 2.0.

ZumiPage is also good, but not free. I do not recomment AJAX.NET because it
uses external handlers and therefore does not preserve the stateful Page
class state.

Anthem, of all of them, is the most lightweight, most customizable (e.g.
write your own controls if you like), and IMHO the most innovative.

Hope that helps.


Co-founder, developer portal:


Peter --
I've heard good things about Anthem. But, consider this -- integrating
Atlas gives you the ability to drop server-side controls directly onto
your page, just like they were any other controls. Build an
auto-complete text box, create a data grid that only updates within
that panel of the web page, all by using controls and syntax you're
already used to. Wrap things in panels, set a few properties, and
you're good to go. How can you compete with that kind of integration
into a development product you're already using? MS creates a toolkit
of controls that appear within the VS toolkit designer, or you can just
type them into your code like any other server-side or client-side tag.
Amazing. Sure, it creates a larger file and apparently transmits more
bytes than competitors, but isn't that just like MS? They create
mostly bloated files when you leave things up to them, but at least the
tools are completely integrated and you can get down into the dirt if
you wanted to spice things up or make them more effecient. The same
rule applies when creating any MS VS.NET project -- don't sit in the
designer all day, you need to edit the source and get dirty. With
their official Atlas release, and subsequent patches, upgrades and
releases, how can you compete with them? If Anthem has a few neat UI
controls that you can add to your ASP.NET page, there is no doubt in my
mind that Atlas will have them too, or at least let you create an
extender for it. I just think, if you're in bed with VS, tied to a MS
product, using it for a large production project and all your
developers are VS.NET trained, why not "get the next version" of the
product and take advantage of a new "feature" in it -- Atlas.
Just my $0.02.

Bob Lehmann

Just trying to get some opinions out there...

Whitespace is a Good Thing.

Bob Lehmann

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