Archives / 2006 / April
  • MIX06, Atlas and an ORCS Web plug

    I had the opportunity to attend Mix06 in Las Vegas a couple weeks ago.  What a great conference!  While it didn't dive in as deep as some other conferences, the overview of technologies, the networking, and the level of people that were there made this conference well worthwhile.  My favorite session was the and guys discussing their webfarm configurations. (managed by the team) and are two of the top 5 most popular websites at the moment. 
    The technology that has received a lot of buzz in the last number of months is AJAX (Asynchronous JavaScript and XML).  Mature AJAX-enabled sites are popping up all over the place.  While the technology has been available for a few years now (ever since JavaScript was included and enabled by default on most web browsers) it has only been fairly recently that the momentum has really picked up.  Sites like, and Microsoft's new have proven how impressive is can be. 
    For those that aren't familiar with it, AJAX allows a webpage to only update the part of a page that needs to be updated.  The rest of the page doesn't do a round-trip (postback) to the server.  For example, with you can drag your mouse around and watch the map appear as you move around.  That was obviously not preloaded into your computer, but it will pull the images back from the server as you request them.
    In March, on the first day of the MIX06 conference, Microsoft released a public version of 'Atlas', their framework to AJAX-enable a website.  Another version was released in April and as of two days ago, April 13th, the CTP (community tech preview) of Atlas Control Toolkit was released which includes an impressive set of AJAX controls.  Scott Guthrie says they are planning to have between 50 - 100 high-quality Atlas controls over the next few months:
    Take a minute and try the a demo of the Toolkit samples, you'll be impressed:
    Does ORCS Web support AJAX and Atlas?  Of course . . .  although we can't take much credit because it works on ASP.NET out of the box.  In fact, much of Atlas is a set of JavaScript libraries that will work on other platforms besides ASP.NET.  Just the same, we won't miss the opportunity to take credit for once again having our servers cutting edge and ready for whatever the latest technologies throw our direction.  You can start to AJAX enable your applications on any of our web servers today.  Enjoy!