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By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2006-11-07 Print this article Print

Goldfarb said the Microsoft ASP.Net AJAX tools enable Microsoft developers to get into the AJAX development craze. "AJAX delivers a different kind of user experience," Goldfarb said. "Business models on the Web are commoditizing, and people have a preference that can be based on the emotional experience" they get from a user experience of a specific Web site, he said. AJAX is a concept that can make a difference there, he said.
"AJAX is an enabler," Goldfarb said. "It was there for some time, and even though its a complex technology, people are using it. ASP.Net AJAX makes AJAX easy."
Ben Noonan, Internet project and development manager at Burton Snowboards, of Burlington, Vt., which uses the Microsoft ASP.Net AJAX tools, said Burton customers tend to be very Web savvy and they want more content, particularly more videos and more photos. "And our marketing people wanted us to deliver that," Noonan said. However, Burtons developers had more server-side development experience, and the companys development shop had been through a number of ASP.Net versions while building out its Web presence, Noonan said. "So it made perfect sense to go with the ASP.Net AJAX" offering from Microsoft, he said. "Since we implemented it, weve seen page views double since early August, and our revenues have grown significantly," Noonan said. "And the learning curve is about zero" for Burtons Web developers, he said. "Were not required to write a bunch of JavaScript." Before adopting Microsofts ASP.Net AJAX, Burtons developers looked at other AJAX frameworks such as, he said. "But we didnt have the skill sets in-house." The Burton team also looked at Adobes Flash as a possible solution, but it required "a lot of maintenance and a unique skill set, and we wanted to utilize what we had, what we were comfortable with and what wed been successful with," Noonan said. Goldfarb said ASP.Net AJAX will be released to manufacturing by the end of the year and will be a fully supported Microsoft technology. That claim is "not available with some of the community-focused efforts," he said. Vista appears to be gaining a reputation among users as "eye candy." Can it beat that rap? Click here to read more. Microsoft will license its AJAX libraries under a derivative of the companys Shared Source license, Goldfarb said. Meanwhile, Jay Roxe, lead product manager in Microsofts developer division, said many of Vistas native technologies will enhance the development experience for developers, particularly given that there have been more than 7,000 new APIs added to the operating system. Roxe said the Vista message to developers is: Clear, Connected and Confident. The Clear message is around the Vista user interface technologies such as WPF, Aero, Sidebar, DirectX 10 and Rich Preview, which enable developers to create rich and attractive applications. The Connected message is around the WCF and WF technologies, as well as other technologies such as the People Near Me search capability added into the operating system, RSS support and Vista Sync Center, which enable developers to build applications that are aware of their connected nature. For instance, using the People Near Me Windows peer-to-peer networking technology, "I could write an application to connect with people near me in a peer-to-peer fashion, and we could do things like virtual whiteboarding," Roxe said. "Peer-to-peer is an area where were just starting to put tools into developers hands," Roxe said. "We dont know what developers will actually do with it." The Confident message is primarily about security, which Vista offers in spades, Roxe said. The new operating system offers enhanced User Account Control, advanced cryptography, richer Windows Error Reporting and event logging, he said. Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, reviews and analysis in programming environments and developer tools.

Darryl K. Taft covers the development tools and developer-related issues beat from his office in Baltimore. He has more than 10 years of experience in the business and is always looking for the next scoop. Taft is a member of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and was named 'one of the most active middleware reporters in the world' by The Middleware Co. He also has his own card in the 'Who's Who in Enterprise Java' deck.

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