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Brian Holmgård Kristensen

Hi, I'm Brian. I'm a Danish guy primarily working with ASP.NET e-commerce solutions using Microsoft Commerce Server.

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Building Complete Web Application Using ASP.NET 3.5 & Visual Studio 2008 Part 2

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 Wednesday, 07 November 2007

Just as yesterdays part one of his session Omar Khan, Group Program Manager on Visual Studio, had almost the entire room packed with people attending part two. And I was there as well.

Omar started out by quickly summing up the things we covered in part one of his session including the new features in the designer surface of Visual Studio 2008; extensively support for editing CSS and with much more control over designer build code and also how to use LINQ To SQL in ASP.NET.

He then went on telling about the new data controls introduced with ASP.NET 3.5. The <asp:ListView> control is new, which is very usefull if you want full control on how the markup will be generated in the page. It gives the same flexibility and power of the <asp:Repeater> control, but with a lot more capabilities including better integration to the design surface of Visual Studio 2008 with support of rendering how the output will look like. Something that the <asp:Repeater> control did not support. The new <asp:ListView> control is also fully template and has support of the various select/insert/update visual rendering modes. Omar demoed this new control by taking some static content from a sample web-page from a previous demo and converted it being populated dynamically from a <asp:LinqDataSource> control which allows to connect to any LINQ To SQL class defined in the solution. The markup rendered from the <asp:ListView> was just as clean as he promised – not even the ID of the <asp:ListView> was outputted to the browser, which was something I particularly found very nice.

With the new <asp:DataPager> control it is possible to put paging on top of any ASP.NET data control. Omar did a quick demo on this by adding the paging to the <asp:ListView> previous mentioned. This is also a really nice and handy control giving you the maximum flexibility on how you want paging to work and how you want it to look by having full control over how it is rendered.

We moved with the next thing which was the Ajax capabilities of ASP.NET 3.5. Support for Ajax has now been integrated in ASP.NET 3.5 where before in the previous version this was an add-on. Visual Studio 2008 has a new feature where it automatically recognizes Ajax Extenders for the various controls so when you for instance drop a <asp:TextBox> control in your page, Visual Studio can figure out which Extenders that can be used for that. They have also changed the way how Extender controls gets visually rendered in the designer by actually not having them being rendered as separate controls but instead as something “on top” of the actual control they extend.

Omar carried on by demoing features of the extensively increased support of developing JavaScript code inside Visual Studio 2008. The JavaScript Intellisense have been tremendously improved (yes I use big words – maybe I just get pretty easily impressed :-)) supporting the dynamic nature of the language with automatically inferring the types, and supporting accessing JavaScript functions from external files. Visual Studio 2008 also supports build time syntax checking of JavaScript and allows debugging your JavaScript code in improved and easy manner compared to how this was supported in previous versions of Visual Studio.

Next from Omar was on how to document your JavaScript libraries and how this gets reflected in the Intellisense allowing having the same documentation capabilities as you are familiar with e.g. the ///<summary>This function converts…</summary> or ///<param name=”name”>Defines the name of…</name>

After that he showed us how simple it is to add a reference to a Web Service in the <asp:ScriptManager> control and how to script against this web-service using the ASP.NET Ajax framework with off course the Intellisense to fully support this. Pretty powerful stuff.

At this point time almost running out so Omar had to quickly go through IIS 7.0 and some of the new features in this upcoming web-server. IIS 7.0 provides much better administration and management of sites and configuration, better support of diagnostics and improved support for Web Farm scenarios. IIS 7.0 has a much more friendly experience around configuration of the web-sites and the web-server providing a nice UI for this. I actually completed a Hands-On lab on the IIS 7.0 and I will properly do a post about this sometime soon.

Even though Omar did not talk about how to structure your code properly with LINQ, I really think it he pulled of two very good sessions on how to build web-applications using the new Visual Studio 2008 and ASP.NET 3.5.

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Posted on Wednesday, 07 November 2007 08:15:39 (Romance Standard Time, UTC+01:00)
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