Introducing the "Friends of Web Development Newsletter" (March 2006)

Friends of Web Development Newsletter – March 2006

Introducing our Team

Hello developers!  We’re the product team that creates ASP.NET, Visual Web Developer (the web project designer in Visual Studio) and most recently, “Atlas”.

We’re launching this newsletter as an insider's view of what we’re working on - the first in a series of monthly newsletters that gives you the latest on our progress in developing new products, our vision for the future, and anything we think you'll find interesting and exciting.  We would love to hear from you - send your feedback and suggestions to Rich Ersek (

Current Projects

So what have we been up to in the past several months?  We’ve just finished up a quality-focused milestone which gave us an opportunity to further improve on our engineering practices.   For example, one of our accomplishments in this milestone was to reactivate and reevaluate any bugs that didn't meet the bar to fix in the “Whidbey” (Visual Studio 2005) release so we could prioritize those fixes appropriately and start the next major release (codenamed “Orcas”) with a clean slate.   We also put new processes in place such as “feature crews” and have adapted agile development practices that will help us to increase product quality and to deliver great features and great products.     


We’ll put the spotlight on a different project each month.  Throughout the course of the year we’ll update you on new developments along with a few new projects.   Since we just finished the Mix ’06 conference, let’s talk about "Atlas" and what’s new:




Many of the most exciting next-generation web applications are taking advantage of AJAX techniques to offer a richer and more responsive user experience, enabled by client-side Javascript coupled with web services on the backend. “Atlas” offers AJAX capabilities to applications and much more because it greatly simplifies development in the tradition of the declarative ASP.NET programming model and it integrates with the Visual Studio 2005 and Visual Web Developer Express design platforms.   “Atlas” is currently a technology preview for ASP.NET 2.0 and we’re planning to release a fully-supported version in “Orcas”.


Our development model for “Atlas” incorporates some of the agile development practices described above, and we’ve been releasing a new version roughly every 6-8 weeks.   Just in time for Mix ’06, we released the “Atlas” March CTP, which introduces several new features.   For example, you can now use Atlas to build your own gadgets that work with   Also, the WebParts drag and drop feature now works with both IE and Firefox.  


Atlas now features a “go-live” license too, so now you can write Atlas apps and host them live.    And if that’s not incentive enough, check out the “Mash it up with Atlas” contest – your cool app might just win you an XBox 360!


We’ve added a ton of new documentation and reference material, plus videos and screencasts to the official Atlas website.   Check it all out today at!  


We always hear from customers that they want to get more hands-on experience with new ASP.NET features in an easy way.  We’ve created a new “How do I?” video series on that explains and shows how to use each of several new features in ASP.NET and VWD in just 10-15 minutes.   The videos are a great way to quickly come up to speed with the new features in ASP.NET 2.0.   Try them out today and let us know what you think! 


Here’s a complete listing:


Data Access - Create a new database from scratch, define a table, populate it with data, create a strongly typed DAL TableAdapter to work against it, and then build a filtered master/detail set of ASP.NET pages with data sorting, paging and editing support against it.


Master Pages and Site Navigation – Create a consistent master page layout for a site using the new ASP.NET Master Pages Feature.  Then create a site navigation menu using site navigation and the new TreeView control.


Membership and Roles – Add an authentication and authorization system to a site from scratch, and implement login, create user, change password, password reset, and role based security in a secure way.


Profiles and Themes – Enable per-user profile personalization on a site.  Then use this together with the new Themes/Skins feature to allow a visiting user to customize and personalize the look and feel of a site. 


Web Parts and Personalization – Enable customizable drag/drop portal UI within web-pages, and allow visiting users to customize the information experience they see.


Output Caching and SQL Cache Invalidation – Learn how to use the output caching feature in ASP.NET, as well as the new SQL Cache Invalidation support to build super efficient output cached pages that stay in sync with the data within your database.


Partial Page Caching – Learn how to use the Partial Page output caching with ASP.NET to enable regions of a page to be cached, while also allowing other portions of the page to stay dynamic.


Localization – Learn how to build culture-aware and locale specific applications using ASP.NET 2.0.


Wizard and Validation Controls – Build a canonical form data registration page using the new ASP.NET 2.0 Wizard control and validation control features.


Tips and Tricks – This video highlights a number of cool new features in ASP.NET 2.0, including: cross-page postback support, file uploading, the MultiView control, encrypting web.config settings, and more.



Upcoming Events

4/2-5 – ASP.NET Connections, Orlando, FL (  DevConnections/ASP.NET Connections is one of the premier developer events and will feature ASP.NET team members along with several of the leading experts in the ASP.NET community.   .NET Developer Platform General Manager, Scott Guthrie, will give the keynote.

6/11-16 – TechEd, Boston, MA (  - Tech·Ed is Microsoft’s largest annual conference for providing IT professionals and developers with technical training, information and resources to build, deploy and manage solutions with currently shipping and near-term Microsoft technologies.


Disclaimer: This information is provided "AS IS" with no warranties, and confers no rights.  Copyright© 2006, Microsoft Corporation.   All Rights Reserved.  Use of these contents is subject to the terms specified at


  • need videos on :

    -- how to license a custom server control

    -- how to access assembly information from asp

    -- how to access hard drive volume information

    -- how to enable auto outline on .vb files in VWD

    all demos need to be in

  • Cool - thanks for the feedback! I'll forward it onto the team doing the videos. We're also planning to do quick 'how-to' videos of our own - for example, ScottGu and I did his screencast on the front page of in 1 hour in his office.

  • The videos you have created are perfect. It's so convenient to be able to sit with the video in one window and Visual Studio in the other and follow along. And you take one piece at a time which makes for good clarity.

    So keep up the good work and keep more of the coming!

    I do not belive all videos should be in VB.NET... C# is fine.





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