Peek into ASP.NET Version 2.0 (Whidbey)
Recently Microsoft unveiled ASP.NET Version 2.0 code named Whidbey in the PDC.
The new version has many improvements that greatly increase developer
productivity. ASP.NET 1.0 has already simplified web application development.
ASP.NET 2.0 takes it to a further height with addition of exciting features such
as master pages, themes, skins, membership APIs, personalization features and
web parts. This article gives you a peek into many of these new features.
Most of the web applications have a consistent look and feel. In ASP.NET 1.0
user controls and custom base class for web forms. Though these features serve
the purpose well they have to be controlled by the developer this means the
developer needs to take care of using the user control on all the web forms at
ASP.NET 2.0 solves this problem via something called as "Master Pages".
Master pages act as a template for all the pages. This quickly allows you to
build web forms with consistent look and feel.
Themes and skins
The users of Microsoft FrontPage must be knowing the concept of themes.
Themes allow you to change many look and feel features such as colors and font.
They provide a very good way of personalization and customization. ASP.NET 2.0
has the concept of themes that goes beyond traditional techniques such as
changing CSS on the fly or changing font and colors as per user preference. A
theme in ASP.NET 2.0 consist of skins which actually specify properties
such as color and font. ASP.NET 2.0 server control can then be applied with
Providing authentication mechanism is very common requirement for most of the
web sites. ASP.NET forms authentication is one of the most common ways of
authenticating users. ASP.NET 2.0 introduces membership features using which you
can not only authenticate users but also helps in tasks such as create users and
managing their passwords. There are new controls such as Login, LoginView,
LoginStatus, LoginName, and PasswordRecovery that provide complete control on
Many web sites are "community" oriented. Such sites offer individual members
to personalize the site based on their choice. Typically you store such
personalized information in a database and retrieve it at run time based on
logged in user. Settings pertaining to a user is called as its profile. ASP.NET
2.0 provides great way to implement personalization features in your web
Web Parts and Web Zones
Taking personalization and customization ahead ASP.NET 2.0 introduces
something called as Web Parts. Users of Share Point portal may find this
concept familiar. Web Part is nothing but a part of the entire web page that can
be customized in terms of appearance, position etc. User can choose whether a
certain web part to be displayed on the page or not. Web Parts are contained
inside Web Part Zones. They together provide modular design to your portals and
New Server Controls
ASP.NET 2.0 adds many new and enhanced server controls to the developer's
toolbox. For example, GridView control provides capabilities such as paging,
sorting and editing without a single line of code! The emphasis is on providing
as much as functionality as possible with minimal amount of code.
Web Site Pre-compilation
You must be knowing that ASP.NET 1.0 compiles the pages on first request and
serves future requests with the compiled output. Because of this behavior there
is a slight time delay when you execute your pages for the first time. ASP.NET
2.0 has two ways by which you can pre-compile your web site. The first way is
via precompiler.axd tool that pre-compiles all the pages and also
indicates compile time errors. The another way is to obtain "source code less"
copy of your web site via command line tools. The second method converts all the
.aspx and other markup pages into assemblies. At run time these assemblies
service user requests.
ASP.NET 2.0 provides something called as "adaptive rendering". using this
feature ASP.NET 2.0 web pages can emit appropriate markup (such as HTML, XHTML
or WML) based on the device accessing the page. This means ASP.NET 2.0 has
functionality of MMIT built-in core platform itself. You need not use different
markup for different devices.
As you can see ASP.NET 2.0 is a leap ahead in increasing developer
productivity. There are improvements in almost all the areas as compared to
ASP.NET 1.0. In my upcoming series of articles I am going to illustrate many of
these exciting features. So, stay tuned!