ASP.NET AJAX for the... AJAX'y Challenged!

So I've been working on my little mash-up for our upcoming Microsoft Company Kick-off, and now that I've got the VE stuff all cranking, I felt a craving for some UX'y goodness. So I went to the ASP.NET AJAX website, looking for love... well as Young MC confirmed, it's not always in the right place!

Why you ask!!?

Well, when you get to the ASP.NET AJAX website, there really isn't anything that screams, "COOL ASP.NET AJAX WIDGETS FOR n00bs!!"

Why ScottGu.., why!?

So I poked around, and found this:

It's a live page, with the latest ASP.NET AJAX Control Toolkit loaded into little showcase pages! Fark! It rocks!

"Whai?" you shriek like little girl!

Well, because of two reasons:

  1. At the bottom left part of the page, is a Walkthroughs section which does the mother management part of helping you set up your AJAX'y environment. This is good, because like most new CTP/Beta bytes and pieces, your going to need some directions, a couple of different downloads, a chicken (for sacrificial purposes) and the alignment of Saturn and your mother in-law's bingo numbers to get it all working.
  2. At the bottom of each sample page, there is a code snippet window under the heading "Control Properties" that gives you what you need to recreate the control on your app page! Too easy!

Now at this point, I need to get the sweatband on and warm up the front row...

(Queue "I was born on a small farm in Idaho with six brother and sisters yada yada" soundtrack)

When I first tried to tackle the ASP.NET AJAX stuff, it was a little daunting because depending on your version of VS, you may not have the latest version. Now, there was a subtle change to the name for ATLAS when it moved to RTM, and that might be your first clue, so if under New->Website you still have a project template called ATLAS, then you'll need to upgrade. Also, you'll need to update your ATLAS/ASP.NET AJAX version to get the toolkit to work... so there's two good reasons to do it.

Also, there is slight issue with web services support, which I'm not sure is an ASP.NET AJAX issue, of a Dave issue, but the web service consumption capability of the ASP.NET AJAX framework seems to only support SOAP based services, leaving the REST stuff (which is one of the cool aspects of WCF) unavailable.

But the long and short of it is, if you're looking to separate out the workload of your ASP.NET apps into browser/platform, then looking at the ASP.NET AJAX toolkit is going to be worth your while.