Practical ASP.NET

MIX10: More on jQuery and ASP.NET 4

Microsoft ASP.NET Senior Program Manager Stephen Walther Talks with Peter Vogel about jQuery, AJAX and ASP.NET 4.

Around the time that Scott Guthrie was announcing Microsoft's commitment to jQuery at the MIX 10 event in Las Vegas earlier this week (for more, read Microsoft Doubles Down on jQuery), I was speaking with Stephen Walther, senior program manager for ASP.NET at Microsoft. He was providing useful insight into Microsoft's plans for AJAX in ASP.NET in the near and long term.

While Microsoft looked at complementary initiatives to build on jQuery, the ASP.NET team, according to Walther, "recognized the momentum that jQuery has in the ASP.NET and PHP environment." It made sense to become part of that momentum even though that commitment involved a significant shift in resources.

"We're redirecting all of our efforts into jQuery," Walther said, "We're contributing resources to jQuery, as everyone else does, but we're also making significant commitments." Those commitment extend outside Redmond's walls. "We'll be encouraging developers to go to jQuery," Walther said.

In addition to the developer resources Microsoft has committed to work with the jQuery team, Microsoft's plans to help add new functionality to the jQuery core. Microsoft is working in a number of directions, including databinding, the script loader and contributing to development of templating functionality as part of the jQuery core.

Working with the jQuery team is only part of the challenge, said Walther.

"We need to create a bunch of jQuery plug-ins to support, for instance, OData (Open Data Protocol, which allows integration with SharePoint and Azure). We also have to get everything on the server side to work well with jQuery," said Walther, who added that Microsoft is working to support MVC as well. "We need helpers that wrap jQuery for MVC."

jQuery isn't the only aspect of what's changing in client-side development with ASP.NET. Walther said that ASP.NET 4 is giving developers much greater control over the markup code. And he added that Microsoft is working hard to continue to integrate Windows Communication Foundation with JSON.

The Control Toolkit was "insanely popular," Walther said, describing it as "one of the top CodePlex downloads of all time." The toolkit has already logged a hundred thousand downloads.

Long term, the goal is to move successors to the Control Toolkit into the community as part of the CodePlex foundation. That shift will encourage contributors both from the community and Microsoft. Shorter term, Microsoft is striving to add "more goodies," as Walther called it.

About the Author

Peter Vogel is a system architect and principal in PH&V Information Services. PH&V provides full-stack consulting from UX design through object modeling to database design. Peter tweets about his VSM columns with the hashtag #vogelarticles. His blog posts on user experience design can be found at

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