Review: ASP.NET 3.5 AJAX Unleashed

Nowadays, many web developers have implemented AJAX in their web applications. This enables them to create dynamic, rich web sites. There are numerous resources available on the web for learning ASP.NET 3.5 AJAX, but it is always nice to refer to a book as and when required. In his latest book, ASP.NET 3.5 AJAX Unleashed, Robert Foster examines the relevant concepts in less than 300 pages, which I think is excellent and is rarely achieved by authors. It is hard to write short and crispy content, especially on ASP.NET related concepts, but Robert has worked really well to bring out a quality book for budding developers very effectively. The book is mainly divided into three parts including two appendixes.

Inside the Book, ajax, ajax, sams







The chapters in part 1 provide a brief overview about AJAX and introduce the controls shipped with Visual Studio. This section also provides a sneak preview of the AJAX Control Toolkit. The author has provided complete source code along with relevant screenshots. Part 2 consists of the core chapters which help you learn ASP.NET AJAX 3.5 starting from the basics. While chapter 3 examines the ScriptManager and ScriptManagerProxy controls, Chapter 4 provides nice coverage of various namespaces such as Sys, Sys.Net, Sys.Serialization, Sys.UI, etc.

Chapters 5 and 6 help you to learn about the UpdatePanel, Timer controls, and also some of the advanced techniques associated with the ASP.NET AJAX PageRequestManager object. Chapter 7 provides detailed coverage of various controls included with the AJAX Control Toolkit with the help of a practical example. The author also examines the role of Expression Web in the development of AJAX applications. I think this chapter will be very useful for beginners. The book then delves deeply into the steps involved in the development of an Extender Control with the help of both server and client side controls.

A key feature of the book is that the author has provided detailed analysis in a lucid style along with each bit of source code. Chapter 9 examines the role of SharePoint 2007 in the development of AJAX based applications. It also includes a practical example which illustrates the development of SharePoint WebParts powered by AJAX.

You should be familiar with Gadgets if you work with the Windows Vista operating system, and the final chapter examines the creation of vista sidebar gadgets with the help of AJAX. It includes a detailed explanation of each step starting with the creation of web service and ending with testing the gadget. I would prefer to see the screenshots in color in the next edition of the book.

The book also includes two appendixes which provide a brief overview of expression web and also examine the steps required to deploy .NET 3.5 as a SharePoint feature. I expected a little bit more advanced content especially in the areas of LINQ. It would be helpful if the author had devoted a chapter to discuss the implementation of an AJAX based billing solution as a mini project.


The book will be useful for beginners and intermediates and I would recommend it for those developers who would like to learn ASP.NET 3.5 AJAX quickly. This book can also be used by those developers who are averse to reading bulky books. The author has done a terrific job of restricting the content in less than 300 pages and I must say that the book is an ideal supplement for online resources.


As the Internet user experience (UX) progresses, more users are demanding and expecting their custom-built business applications to provide the same UX that they see on the Internet every day. ASP.NET 3.5 AJAX Unleashed empowers ASP.NET developers to easily provide this type of experience with minimal code. Author Rob Foster has built AJAX-enabled web applications for a number of major corporations and uses the experience he has gained there to explain concisely, clearly, and completely what ASP.NET developers need to learn to start taking advantage of the rich opportunities made possible by ASP.NET AJAX.

•Learn ASP.NET AJAX by working with real-world examples
•Use the ScriptManager and ScriptManagerProxy controls in your ASP.NET AJAX-enabled applications
•Leverage the ASP.NET AJAX client-side API to maximize the flexibility of ASP.NET AJAX
•Build applications that use the UpdatePanel and Timer controls
•Use the ASP.NET AJAX Control Toolkit to provide rich AJAX functionality to your web applications
•Build ASP.NET AJAX-enabled extender controls
•Integrate ASP.NET AJAX and .NET 3.5 with Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007
•Create ASP.NET AJAX-enabled Windows Vista Gadgets
•Learn advanced AJAX concepts such as JavaScript Object Notation (JSON) and WCF Web services
Introduction     1

Part I Introduction

Chapter 1 Introduction to AJAX Technologies     5

AJAX and Web 2.0     6

Why Use AJAX?      7

AJAX Rationale     7

AJAX: An Example     8

The XMLHttpRequest Object     8

A Simple AJAX Library     10

Using the AJAX Library     14

Summary     20

Chapter 2 Introduction to ASP.NET AJAX     21

Introducing the Visual Studio Controls     22

ScriptManager     22

ScriptManagerProxy     23

Timer     23

UpdatePanel     23

UpdateProgress     23

Introducing the Visual Studio Projects and Web Site Items     24

Projects     24

Web Site Items     25

Introducing the AJAX Control Toolkit     26

Summary     27

Part II Working with ASP.NET 3.5 AJAX

Chapter 3 The ScriptManager and ScriptManagerProxy Controls     31

About the ScriptManager Control.      31

ScriptManager Properties, Methods, and Events     34

JavaScript Proxy Classes for Web Services     37

Partial-Page Rendering     43

Summary     47

Chapter 4 The ASP.NET AJAX Client API     49

The Namespaces     49

Global     49

Sys     52

Sys.Net     53

Sys.Serialization     54

Sys.Services     62

Sys.UI     66

Sys.WebForms     68

Summary     71

Chapter 5 The UpdatePanel and Timer Controls     73

About the UpdatePanel Control     73

Using the UpdatePanel Control     74

Advanced Features of the UpdatePanel Control     78

Triggers     78

Multiple UpdatePanel Controls on a Single Page     81

The Timer Control     89

Using the Timer Control with Partial-Page Rendering     90

Summary     92

Chapter 6 Advanced Techniques with the ASP.NET AJAX PageRequestManager Object     93

Using the PageRequestManager Object     93

A Practical Example of the PageRequestManager Object     95

Summary     100

Chapter 7 Using the ASP.NET AJAX Control Toolkit     101

ASP.NET AJAX Control Toolkit: The Controls     102

Using Controls in the ASP.NET AJAX Control Toolkit     105

Configuring Visual Studio to Use the Toolkit     105

The Accordion and AccordionPane Controls     106

The CalendarExtender Control     110

The CollapsiblePanelExtender Control     112

The ConfirmButtonExtender Control     118

The DragPanelExtender Control     120

The DropDownExtender Control     122

The FilteredTextBoxExtender Control     125

The HoverMenuExtender Control     127

The TextBoxWatermarkExtender Control     130

ASP.NET AJAX Control Toolkit: A Practical Example     134

Using the ASP.NET AJAX Control Toolkit with Microsoft Expression Web     145

Configuring Expression Web for the ASP.NET AJAX

Control Toolkit     145

Summary      150

Chapter 8 Building an ASP.NET AJAX Extender Control     151

Add ASP.NET Controls     151

How to Build an Extender Control     154

Server-Side Code     156

Client-Side Code     159

Summary     163

Chapter 9 ASP.NET AJAX and SharePoint 2007     165

SharePoint and AJAX     165

Modifying Web.Config     166

Developing an AJAX-Based SharePoint Web Part     171

Summary     177

Chapter 10 Creating ASP.NET AJAX-Enabled Vista Sidebar Gadgets     179

Vista Sidebar Gadgets     179

Creating the Gadget     181

Create the Web Service     181

Generate the JavaScript Proxy     183

Create the Vista Gadget     186

Test the Gadget     187

Summary     188

Part III Appendices

Appendix A Microsoft Expression Web 191

An Introduction to the Expression Web Interface     191

Creating Web Pages and Web Sites     191

Customizable Interface     194

Creating Standards-Based Web Sites      198

Quickly Build Standards-Based Sites     198

Code Formatting and IntelliSense     202

Autoformatting Code     202

IntelliSense     204

XML and XSLT Tools in Expression Web     204

Drag and Drop XML     205

Creating and Updating XSL     207

Summary     209

Appendix B Deploying the .NET Framework 3.5 as a SharePoint Feature 211

Features and Solutions      211

Creating the Solution     213

Using Visual Studio     214

Creating the Feature Receiver     218

Deploying the Solution to SharePoint     228

Compiling the Solution     228

Running STSADM.EXE to Register the Solution     234

Deploying the Solution Using SharePoint

Central Management     235

Activating the Feature     237

Summary     239

Index     241

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