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Atlas: Microsoft’s Ajax toolkit

By Stuart Langridge and Tony Steidler-Dennison

Microsoft are putting together a toolkit for doing Ajax things, called Atlas. It looks like it’ll be an ASP.NET 2.0 thing, according to Scott Guthrie from Microsoft. Reassuringly, he says “the Atlas Client Script Framework will work on all modern browsers, and with any web server”, meaning that they’re implementing Ajax-style remote scripting in a cross-browser fashion, and that’s a really nice move; MS, in the past, have tended to be rather IE-specific in this sort of thing, and a move away from that toward proper cross-browser support from their development tools can open up remote scripting to a broad swathe of ASP.NET developers who will be building cross-browser code without even necessarily knowing it. It’ll be interesting to see where this goes, but clearly the MS developers’ hearts are in the right place, and we’d all love to see more of that.

  • I’m also interested in where this will go. I’m still doubting it will be as cross browser as I’d like.

  • I’d be seriously surprised if MS actually delivered on that promise. Remember, this is the company which tried to corner Java developers onto Windows by sneaking in Windows-only classes.

    Personally, I’m looking forward to Eclipse doing something nice with Ajax.

  • momos

    First they have to fix IE, then I’ll listen what more they have in their sleeve. You can’t have a nice AJAX implementation without a nice ECMAScript(or Javascript) implementation!

  • Dale

    MS are likely to deliver on this. They invented a key component of AJAX – the XMLHttpRequest object.

    XMLHttpRequest wasn’t a W3C standard (still might not be) and was later implemented by Mozilla and then Safari.

    < http://developer.apple.com/internet/webcontent/xmlhttpreq.html>

    And they’re also quite familiar with ECMAScript.

  • Maian

    IE does have a nice ECMAScript implementation. It’s just that its DOM sucks.

  • NoName

    In addition to the previous comment, I then read further and realized that the grammar in this article is worse than I thought. One small problem like is/are is okay, but then we have extra commas, badly placed commas and a very horrid run on sentence. Do the world a favor and don’t write until you go to elementary school.

  • I thought that apple was the one who invennted xmlhttpreq….

    wow… i need to pay attention more ;P

  • AJAX is a great intermediary step towards a new class of web browser that breaks through the current constraints of the Client versus Server HTTP model. Hopefully this level of interactivity will inspire numerous innovative new features across the web, and push the industry as a whole to look at better ways to deliver interactive content.

    I for one hope Microsoft succeeds on this one.

  • Thirteenva

    What would be really great is if the xmlhttprequest object did not require active x in its IE implementation. Though xmlhttprequest is cross browser you still need to implement it differently for both IE and Moz/Safari

  • Microsoft have claimed that the current beta of .NET 2.0 is “Feature complete”, if this holds true, then their atlas framework will NOT be included in the next ASP.NET version.

    As for crossbrowser/crossserver … if they decide to implement it outside their .NET framework, I’d say there is a very strong chance that it’ll actually work cross-browser.

    But, knowing Microsoft, and how much they’ve invested in .NET, I’m betting that It’ll be released in a matter similar to DAAB, as optional components for .NET.

  • First, there already is a very good AJAX implementation for ASP.NET (http://ajax.schwarz-interactive.de/csharpsample/default.aspx)

    I also hope MS succeeds in making this a reality. It would be nice if it worked for .NET 1.1 as well as there are alot of applications that are not going to be upgraded to 2.0 for quite some time.

  • Keith

    “…[Atlas] will work on all modern browsers…”

    I wonder if that means IE6 won’t be supported. ;-)

  • malikyte

    …by the time Atlas is ready, I would have to imagine IE v.7 will have already been released to the public.

  • Atlas is more than 6 months away. IE7 will be out by then.

  • clintonG

    And its interesting to note that not only did Microsoft create XmlHttpRequest functionality they also created several other ‘proprietary’ mechanisms that even the Mozilla blowhards with all of their hypocritical whining about standards have adopted, innerHtml being one such construct as I recall if not more.

    The point being, Microsoft does not stand still and they have some of the world’s best architects working for them. I think they are going to make a lot of people very happy over the next couple of years.

    Why should Microsoft (or anybody else for this matter) sit on their hands for years waiting for the W3C committee to stop ‘studying’ the problem when somebody has come forth with a proposal to do something about it? The same goes for others who submit to the W3C as Microsoft does.

    The real problem has been those like the Mozilla weenies who sound off and conduct themselves just like the sissies from Netscape who proved they would rather f*ck the whole Internet up rather than simply accept even the best proposals and implementations that Microsoft had to offer. The same has been true of Sun and IBM but nobody can say this about Microsoft as they steal from everybody ;-)

    In the end, I say the real problem is not Microsoft or Mozilla or Sun or IBM but the process that the W3C has refused to streamline and make more efficient.

    Remember, we are really talking about Communisms vs Capitalism.

    Put that in your pipe and smoke it :-)

  • Liam30

    Lol, get your snout out of Bill’s butt. You work for MS don’t you?

    Anyway, I used to be an MS evangelist, until .NET. I can’t stand the crap that the VS.Net IDE spits out. The problem here is that MS makes it easy to really mess up a page, and render it unusable. Personally, I would rather have things like server callbacks more configurable so that you can get rid of some of the VS code-bloat. In fact, every MS product that generates HTML really does a shocking job of creating bloated pages. This atlas thing is going to be just another example of something MS does that’s supposed to be “write once, work everywhere” but the implementation fails to deliver that promise. Just seen MS try and force crap that we don’t need down our throats (remember BHO’s anyone?) that ends up being more trouble that it’s worth. If it works in a non-IE browser, than that’s awesome and I hope that someone can make it work well. Personally, I’ll be staying away from it until it’s proven not to be another MS mistake.

  • Ullrich

    Why to wait for ATLAS that will only by supported on ASP.NET 2.0??? I will use Ajax.NET, a cool implementation that can be downloaded from http://ajax.schwarz-interactive.de.

  • Anonymous

    hi
    I have been trying to bind an xml string returned using (Atlas/Ajax)to a HTML

    table.
    I have bind this string to a XML Data Island(using function loadXML()),and then

    made this a datasource of the table.
    It works fine with IE,but loadXML() is not supported in firefox.
    So ,is there any way to do the same in firefox,without actually parsing the xml

    string.
    Does Atlas framework provide any functionality for DataSet which can be

    datasource for the able in client side.

  • Data islands are IE only

    Sorry, won’t work in any other browser. It was actually a nifty idea, but parsing the XML object is pretty easy.

    This article on builder.com has a downloadable code sample:
    http://builder.com.com/5100-6371-1059009.html

  • Tux

    You are wrong, Microsoft can do no good. Look at Windows and everything else they have released – buggy, poor support and very slow fixes (if they even come at all), expensive (plus you have to pay for things that should be free), and very bulky with a lot of unnecesary overhead. Plus developing for anything MS related is retarded. The Windows API is the biggest pile of BS ever, no wonder windows is so unstable and everything always crashes on it. Instead of admitting their architecture is out of date and starting from scratch (and learning from their mistakes), they just try to hide it by adding more and more layers of total CRAP on top. They ignore otherwise universally accepted standards, with the lunatic idea in mind that they themselves are the only ones using and working with computers. All web-developers are well aware of the fact that trying to make things work with both Internet Explorer (should be Internet Destroyer) and EVERY_OTHER_BROWSER out there accounts for about 60% of bugs and 90% of extreme head aches.

    Don’t even get me started on .NET

    I think that instead of seeing a few of MS developers with “their hearts in the right place” most of us would rather just see no more Microsoft. Especially when even the most non-techies (parents, neighbours, etc) are getting fed up with all of the crap MS is pulling.

  • tux sux

    tux that’s the most stupid comment i have ever read.
    it always amazes me how some unix/linux users capable of configuring all the config files can bo so completely stupid when it comes to managing and using windows.
    As far as APIs go.YOur flavous of OS has no bloody API.It has no standars on which to build and that’s why it’s always going to be a second and third choice.Face it Microsoft has a big vision it’s implementing it and developers and users are going with it.
    So just stick with your 20Gb OS and shut up.
    And don’t post another comment until your community comes out with a development platform that offers 20% of the one microsoft or borland does.Which as you are sadly aware won’t be for a couple of years.

  • Hiten

    Hi I recently tested one small application with Atlas on iMac G5 Sfari browser, i came to know that if i change my controls value my page gets post back otherwise it wont,

    It means Atlas is not working with Safari Apple browser.

  • Fools

    Why perpetuate the same arguments over and over again? Unix/Linux, Windows, Apple – Use the one you want but stop trying to tell me what to use. I use them all for one reason or another and they all suck. If you’re in business then Microsoft has the most accessible support. You can’t get support for Apple, if you ever need it, and on Unix / Linux you are on your own.
    But independant developers can support themselves so Linux is likely their best platform. And Apple wins for graphic workstations, hands down. So knowing your useage needs and support requirements pick your operating system and shut up.

    Ya bunch of babies!

  • wouters[at]dimano.sk

    For some nice ajax stuff in Eclipse, try
    ECHO2 (cross browser, dynamic cool…)
    best regards

  • Sorry for your time…. Why i can’t see images on this resource?
    My Browser is: Opera.
    Thank you.

  • iqbculxlds
  • ntlmynxdak
  • kece

    you can be sure this version of microsoft ajax will be just as buggy as the rest of their software. those guys are losers

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