Xperimentality

Experiences and Experiments in Programming

 Thursday, April 20, 2006
Well I will be dog gone!  See, all I needed was a little patience.  Last week I mentioned the Google Calendar and that it would be great if they released an API.  I guess I should be careful what I ask for.  Google has released their Calendar API.  It was announced last night on the Google Updates Blog.  And they already have a C# client library available!

Now I have one more thing I want to play around with that I really don't have time to play around with.  When someone opens up a shop to sell extra hours in the day, I am going to be their best customer!

Thursday, April 20, 2006 11:55:22 AM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00)
 Friday, April 14, 2006
The Atlas team has released an Atlas Control Toolkit which contains some control extenders to do some pretty nifty things with little or no code. The control toolkit includes the following controls and extenders:
  • CascadingDropDown: Easily link drop downs, complete with asynchronous population and no postbacks!
  • CollaspiblePanel:  This extender allows panels on your page to collapse and expand with no code.
  • ConfirmButton: This extender adds a confirm dialog to any Button, LinkButton, or ImageButton control.
  • DragPanel: Makes any panel into an object that you can drag around the page.
  • HoverMenu: Allows UI to pop up next to a control when the user hovers over it. 
  • PopupControl: This extender turns any panel into a popup. 
  • ReorderList: This control is a full-featured data-bound control that allows its elements to be reordered on the client via drag and drop.
  • TextBoxWatermark:  This extender adds "watermark" prompt text to TextBoxes on the page.
  • ToggleButton:  This extender turns an ASP.NET CheckBox into an image checkbox. 
You get the source code, documentation, and more.  There are also some tools to help build your own controls that can utilize the power of Atlas.  The toolkit also has:
  • Helper Classes:  This library of helper classes eliminates many of the steps needed to create "Atlas" controls or extenders so you can quickly produce the code that will make your website shine.
  • Project and Item Templates:  With just a few clicks of the mouse, you'll be writing your first "Atlas" component.  The toolkit contains Visual Studio 2005 Templates for Visual Basic and Visual C# users to create their own controls and extenders.
Although this is an early release and may not completely cover every possibility, it is a new toy to play with and learn more about using Atlas!

Friday, April 14, 2006 8:23:27 AM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00)
 Monday, April 10, 2006
I am going to be giving a presentation at the Birmingham .NET User Group tomorrow on ATLAS. I am going to cover both the client focused and server focused capability as well as demonstrate some examples of the UI coolness provided in the client libraries.  I am going to also mention the Mash It Up contest!

Monday, April 10, 2006 9:19:57 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00)
 Thursday, March 30, 2006

I have gotten a number of questions lately about Atlas. What exactly is it? What do I need to run it? What are the requirements for begin able to use it? So I thought I would post some information here in an attempt to help others who may have the same questions.

First of all, if you have not heard of Ajax, you have been living under a rock. However if you prefer to live like Patrick the starfish, Ajax is simply a term given to the use of multiple technologies (ie. Javascript, DHTML, CSS, and others) used in conjunction to achieve a more rich browser-based user experience. Granted, there are plenty of other definitions you can find if you don't like that one. Since Ajax is not really a technology so much as a technique, it does not belong to any one person or company. Plenty of people have created Ajax libraries. It should be no surprise that Microsoft has created their own Ajax framework, Atlas.

Atlas has 2 components: a set of Javascript script files which give you a similiar type of development platform for client-based Web pages that ASP.NET offers for server-based pages, and a server library that extends ASP.NET to integrate with server-based services. Do what? Effectively, you can have most of your work done on the client using the script files, or you can have most of the work done on the server utilizing ASP.NET.

"Ok, great"...you say.  "Sounds like it is a Microsoft ASP.NET technology. Not interested, I use PHP!" Well think again! You can use the client scripts with any back-end data provider you choose. If you use Visual Studio 2005, the Atlas .msi file will give you the option to install the Atlas web site templates. The Atlas web site template will give you a new Atlas web site option when you do a File..New from the menu. There is nothing magic here, the template creates a couple directories for you, references the Atlas library, and copies the Javascript files into your project.

The Atlas client scripts also include some really nice DHTML tools you can use as well. So what are you waiting for? Go download it and start playing.


Thursday, March 30, 2006 2:30:37 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00)
Who Am I - Todd Miranda
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