Over the last year we’ve been working hard on “Atlas”. It has evolved, changed, and grown because of the amazing amount of feedback and early adoption that we’ve seen. We’ve had an unbelievable amount of interest and excitement around the product, with more than 250,000 downloads this year alone.
Shipping “Atlas” 1.0
Many people have asked us to deliver a fully-supported 1.0 release of “Atlas” before the next release of Visual Studio. “Fully supported” means that Microsoft product support services are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year and that any customer can obtain hotfixes if they encounter a bug affecting their application. It also means that the product has a committed servicing product lifetime of 10 years – which provides companies with the ability to depend on it for mission critical applications.
I am excited to announce today that we are going to ship this fully supported “Atlas” 1.0 release on top of ASP.NET 2.0 and ensure that it works with Visual Studio 2005. Our goal is to ship the “Atlas” 1.0 release around the end of this year. The plan is to first have a Beta, then an RC, and then decide on the final date based on customer feedback.
“Atlas” Feature Delivery Plan
To help expedite the schedule and get out a fully supported release this year, we are going to focus on delivering a “core” set of fully supported functionality. This core set of functionality includes all the common components needed to enable developers to build client-side controls/components, as well as the server-side functionality that provides integration within ASP.NET (including the super-popular update-panel and other server controls).
There are features of the current “Atlas” CTP drops that won’t be in the fully supported “core” bucket. These features will continue to be available in a separate download and will continue to work on top of the supported “core” release. We aren’t pulling back from these features at all. We are simply trying to optimize the timing of the first fully supported set of features and also make sure that we have the flexibility to continue to evolve and innovate some features in a more agile fashion (whereas we are trying to “bake down” the core set of features and avoid having it change dramatically in the future).
We will obviously continue to support a Go-Live license for all features going forward. Enterprise customers who only want to use products backed by a full support agreement can optionally choose to only use those features in the “core” release.
Over time we will be moving more and more features into the fully supported bucket. We will also be publishing a detailed white paper listing features, release plans, and product changes from the CTPs to help with planning over the next few weeks.
As part of releasing “Atlas”, we have also finally locked on an official set of product names that we will begin using moving forward. What was formerly called “Atlas” will now have a few names:
2) The server-side “Atlas” functionality that nicely integrates with ASP.NET will be called the ASP.NET 2.0 AJAX Extensions. As part of this change the tag prefix for the “Atlas” controls will change from <atlas:>to <asp:>. These controls will also be built-in to ASP.NET vNext.
3) The “Atlas” Control Toolkit today is a set of free, shared source controls and components that help you get the most value from the ASP.NET AJAX Extensions. Going forward, the name of the project will change to be the ASP.NET AJAX Control Toolkit.
We are really excited about being able to get a fully supported 1.0 release out. It will be 100% cross-browser and cross-platform. It will simplify adding rich AJAX functionality to ASP.NET applications, and it will enable hugely improved UX for end users. Getting this functionality into your hands in the most flexible way possible is our number one priority and we think the plan I outline above does just that.