Upcoming ASP.NET Releases in April

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>).




- Scott



  • Great news! I look forward to the CSS Control Adapters as the existing menuadapter in System.Web is not ready for prime time css use ;-)

  • Wow Scott! This is so cool, Microsoft is so transparent now in their process. I am not sarcastic I really like it. Now what's about a monthly newsletter?

  • By the way any news on VS 2005 SP1? If I remmeber it was promised for April no?

  • Cool news :)

    Especially the CSS Control Adapters which is something I'm looking forward to implment in my projects ASAP but haven't found good documetation/examples on how to do it on existing controls.

  • I like this idea of letting us know what is comming for the next month, but don't torture us with unrevealed secrets!

  • Dear Mr. Scott,

    Its nice to know that we are getting best of things step bt step in a steady way. I am very happy to know that you will be providing the solutions in VB and C#. So far we had missed many great things as much was posted only in C#.

    Pl.make it a point to offer such things in both the languages, helping both the developers.



  • Really amazing features and I just hope the Atlas documents can be finished ASAP.

  • WOW! sounds great as usual Scott. Looking forward to the CSS Control adapters and the Atlas Control Pack especially! thanks!

  • Scott, I've seen hints at a 'richtextbox' like control in Atlas materials on the web. Is that something that will be included the Atlas Control Pack next month or sometime in the future?

  • Ditto the wow!

    Can we say 'Christmas in April'

    Your team is doing a fantastic job of supporting the developers and it's MUCH appreciated!

  • Wow; that sounds great! Really looking forward to everything you mentioned.

    About the CSS control adapters, I tried building one for the Login control, and it was an absolute pain (had to crack open Reflector, and I found that the Login control is very much tied to a table container); I ended up having to redo everything from-scratch; will you be including control adapters for the Login control?


  • Love the summary post idea! Can you get all the MS teams to do that :-)

  • monthly comming soon is definitely a very good idea. Even better would be saying this phrase in a sentence with Vista word in it &lt;g&gt;

    I am looking forward to ATLAS control pack. But I agree the CSS control adapter is the greatest win.

    More videos, already in April? You're kidding right? Half of this delivered would bring smiles on developer's code, great work Scott&amp;comp at MS!

    may I say WOW on MAY being a better month? =)

  • BTW - thank you for the &quot;comming soon&quot; post.

  • Again Scott, awesome stuff...how do you keep up with it all? Looking forward to the new videos and data tutorials! Thanks so much!

  • Enjoy it.Recently i will study ajax in asp.net 2.0.I suggest your information will help me.


  • Hi Scott, thanks for great posts.

    And I don't know where I can ask

    maybe you know...

    Will I have ability to write my own atlas controls(I haven't explored this yet)?

    Will new versions of Atlas support Opera?

    What about design time support in this controls(smart tags, designers) ?

  • Hi Kigorw,

    Yep -- you can definitely write your own Atlas controls. We'll be shipping samples on how to-do this shortly. You can use the standard VS 2005 design-time features (smart tags, designers, etc) with them.

    Atlas doesn't have good support for Opera yet (we do support IE, FireFox and Safari though). Opera in general doesn't have the best Ajax support (its script support isn't super rich). We are working with the Opera manufacturers, though, to identify ways we can better integrate.

    Hope this helps,


  • Scott, I idea of this monthly upcomming release is brilliant. Please keep them comming!

    However, I do have one question about the Atlas Control Pack. Will there be the ability to add these controls to your Toolbox? Say a seperate Atlas control view item? What about the Update Pannel and other Atlas controls? Will they be added here to, so that the amount of code you have to type will be reduced?

  • I know this is just another &quot;thank you&quot;, but I really appreaciate the update. The ASP.NET team certainly set's the example other programs at Microsoft should follow!

  • Scott,

    I checked your list of known issues with the Web Application project and there is one issue which I do not see listed that I am experiencing. I couldn't find a place to post bug reports, so I'll post it here.

    In an ASP.NET Web Application project, I have aspx/ascx files which do not have code-behind files. (written in code-in-front mode) I am converting them to a code-behind model. Therre doesn't seem to be any provision in the VS.NET UI to add these files to the project. I have tried to manually add the class file, but have had to close the IDE and re-open the project before it recognizes that file as a child of the page/control. Even then, no code exists, so I have to create the code manually that should be there.

    I have resorted to creating a new file, copying all of the HTML to the new file, deleting the old file, then renaming the new file. WHEW...

    It would be nice to have an easy way to create the code behind and designer files without having to do it manually.

  • Scott - just wanted to say I'm totally psyched for the css adapters - our business's design model has moved heavily standards-centric, but we've been in a real bind to keep our designers happy with our .net based CMS. Too many inline style elements, bad page symantics, depreciated tags, unnecessary elements, etc. Thanks in advance for it, and I hope that ideas spread towards making standards-based controls the default rendering mechanism in upcoming .net releases...

  • Scott - Will a ControlAdapter allow me to render a DetailsView/FormView without any table elements in the html output stream?

  • Scott - good news on the 'samples' for creating Atlas controls.

    Some help on extenders would be good.

    Additionally, I'd love to see some design-time support for the listview/itemview.

    I'd like to try working with these for awhile and putting the gridview/datalist aside - but currently without design-time template support, etc... it's quite time consuming and easy to create errors.

    Excellent stuff though - I'm enjoying learning about Atlas and the possibilities.

  • Hi RobertRo,

    Yep -- control adapters would allow you to-do that.

    Hope this helps,


  • Hi Jack,

    You can actually add the core Atlas controls to the toolbox as well. These new Atlas Control Pack controls will enable that too.



  • Scott,

    This sounds great ...



  • Thanks for your efforts (and also to the ASP.NET team!) in simplying the learning in ASP.NET. Congratullations!

  • Great stuff Scott, thanks :)

  • Scott,

    As a designer &amp; developer, I'm really looking forward to the CSS Control Adapters. Just today, I was trying to shoe-horn CSS into the Menu control--I think I'll hold off until the Adapter comes out.

    Many thanks!

  • 10 days left in april... any updates about the css control adapters?

  • Hi Jonathan,

    We are pushing to get them on the web next week. If you want to send me email, I can also send you the current version of it.



  • CSS Control Adapters! I can't wait!

    Thanks in advance,


  • Hi Scott,

    any plans of doing these monthly &quot;coming soon&quot; posts again ?

  • Hi Timo,

    It is something I need to start again -- sorry for the delay in doing this!


  • hi,
    i was trying to use the CSSHelper with datalist for RepeatColums = 1 settings , but it crashed with divide by zero error. Any way out ?


  • Hi Mehfuz,

    We are coming out with an updated CSS Adapter Toolkit download shortly (next week or two I think). If you want to send me email I can connect you with the person doing this to ensure that this bug is fixed.

    Hope this helps,


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