I was chatting with someone at the MIX conference who mentioned he’d love to have an easy way to stay up to-date with all of the things Microsoft is coming out with in the ASP.NET space. To help folks better track things I’ve decided to try and do a monthly “coming soon” post that outlines the list of things we are working on releasing from the team in the weeks ahead.
The current list of ASP.NET related things planned in April includes:
VS 2005 Web Application Project: As I mentioned in this earlier post, we are a few days away from shipping the feature-complete release candidate of the VS 2005 Web Application Project (see http://webproject.scottgu.com for more details if you haven’t heard of it). This refresh supports auto-VS 2003 upgrades (just choose file->open project, select the VS 2003 project, and it will convert it to a WAP project for you), adds all missing features from the previous previews and a ton of new ones, and fixes all reported bugs. We are looking to have it on the web for anyone to download early next week. We'll then quickly turn around and fix any final bugs people find, and post the final drop on the web (this build will also be rolled into VS 2005 SP1).
Atlas Refresh: We shipped our first go-live release of Atlas last week at the MIX conference (you can find tutorials and learn all about it here). We will be shipping the next refresh of it in April, which will provide bug fixes and more features. Note that all releases of Atlas will have the go-live license going forward – so this new one obviously will too, and support production deployments.
Atlas Control Pack: In addition to shipping the core Atlas framework and runtime, we are also going to soon release the first drop of a new Atlas Control Pack that leverages the Atlas framework to deliver a suite of cool re-usable UI controls to make common Ajax scenarios super easy (cascading dropdown lists, drag-panels, collapsible panels, etc, etc). We’ll be posting more details on this project shortly.
CSS Control Adapters: One common request we get from developers is for them to have the ability to better customize the markup generated by the built-in ASP.NET server controls. ASP.NET 2.0 actually includes an extensibility mechanism called “control adapters” that allow just this (basically you can build a class that replaces the rendering semantics of a control, and simply register it in your web.config file to override a control’s built-in rendering – no code or object model changes required in your app). Our plan is to ship a suite of CSS control adapters (with full source) in the next few weeks for a number of the built-in ASP.NET 2.0 controls (including the treeview and menu controls) that demonstrate how to use this mechanism to enable pure CSS based styling (for example: the menu will generate <ul><li></ul> elements and allow a developer apply a CSS stylesheet to customize the rendering). This will be available in a few weeks.
Data Tutorials: I started some popular ASP.NET 2.0 Data tutorials over Christmas that people really liked (you can read the two big ones I built here and here). My original goal was to build a lot more of them – although unfortunately work got too busy for me to keep up. The good news is that we are now working with Scott Mitchell (who is a much better author than me!) to create and publish a 38-part ASP.NET data tutorial series that covers all of the common data scenarios with ASP.NET 2.0, the ObjectDataSource control, and the data controls. The first installment of these step-by-step tutorials will show up on www.asp.net and/or MSDN in a few weeks, and will be available in both VB and C# versions.
“How Do I” Videos: We’ve had absolutely awesome feedback on the ASP.NET “How do I?” video series we published last month. If you haven’t watched them yet, I’d recommend spending a few minutes checking them out here. They really provide a great way to come up to speed on the new ASP.NET 2.0 features, and to watch in action how things work. We are going to be working on producing many more of these in the months ahead, and hope to have the next set of installments start showing up regularly on the www.asp.net site in April.
RSS Tool-Kit Update: Dmitry beat me to this “coming soon” post and released an update to his great ASP.NET 2.0 RSS Toolkit this weekend. If you haven’t checked it out yet, you definitely should. I have some simple tutorials on using it here.
Hope this helps in understanding our plans for April. I think May is going to be an even more exciting month (but I promised the team I wouldn't let slip why yet <g>).