Introducing the ASP.NET beta with Whidbey – level 100

I’m starting to gear up on ASP.NET 2.0, so you’ll probably be seeing future posts focus more on 2.0 instead of 1.1.  I also have plans to port my EZWeb framework to 2.0 and make use of the new 2.0 features.  Here’s a rundown of new features that ASP.NET 2.0 has:

  • Encapsulation of commonly written code so that developer-written code declines by 70%.

  • ASP.NET controls render adaptively to PDAs, cell phones instead of having to use separate mobile controls.

  • Some new administration tools for web apps.

  • 100% backwards compatibility.  There are new controls with new functionality, but the 1.1 controls are staying the same for compatibility.

  • 40-60 new web controls (GridView is like an enhanced DataGrid with paging and sorting and editing built-in without any need to code these features explicitly).

  • Master Pages – we’ve all heard the hype about being able to write one template for  your site and all pages will apply it.  That’s great, but it’s still up in the air whether we’ll be able to programmatically change the master page at runtime in order to support different looks of the site depending on user preference.

  • Site Navigation – built-in sitemap features.

  • User management tool instead of having to hard-code users into the web.config file if you previously used that method.

  • Personalization – built-in features to save user preferences.

  • Themes/Skins. (color schemes really: Basic Blue, Smoke and Glass, etc)

  • Mobile device support – geared in such a way that a small update can enable development support for new devices that will come out next year and later.

  • Built in site counters feature.

  • Configuration – now this is exciting.  Writeable configuration built-in instead of read-only.

  • Deployment – dynamic compilation.  In order to use code files instead of code in the ASPX file, we had to do a manual build before deploying the app.  Now, ASP.NET supports dynamic compilation of .cs, .vb, .js files.  This is especially exciting for small shops that want to be able to make quick tweaks to their RAD web apps without having to pull the whole project into VS.  or if they don’t have VS, they can modify a .cs file in notepad, and it will be dynamically compiled at runtime.  How cool is that.

  • For VS.NET, intellisense EVERYWHERE!  Inline code, javascript, you name it!

  • And of course, there are new features of C# and VB, but that’s not just ASP.NET specific.

I recommend you downloading the beta of VS 2005 or Web Dev Express and trying out some of these things.  It’s better to be ahead of the curve.  2.0 probably won’t be released until next summer, but I’m considering builting a support application with it right now, so I’ll post and let you know how it goes.