Atlas was the code name for a free Web client framework from Microsoft that simplifies Web development by integrating client script libraries with the rich, server-based platform of ASP.NET 2.0. Atlas is now called ASP .NET AJAX. Simply put, Atlas allows AJAX functionality in Visual Studio. Designed to give developers a more structured environment for building web applications, Atlas will work on all modern browsers and with any Web server. The Atlas framework allows a developer to write Web applications that are DHTML-, Javascript- and XML-intensive without significant expertise in any of these technologies.

The Atlas framework includes:

  • An object model.
  • Statement completion .
  • Debugging to speed development processes.
  • Automatic browser compatibility.
  • A consistent, object-oriented set of APIs for developing in JavaScript, including an extensible code framework that includes features like lifetime management, inheritance, multicast event handlers and interfaces.
  • Rich user interface controls, such as auto-complete textboxes, popup panels, animation, and drag and drop.
  • Server controls that automatically produce the client script needed for 'Atlas' applications eliminating the need to write JavaScript code.
  • Asynchronous calls to Web services.
  • A network stack that simplifies server connectivity and web services access.
  • A base class library that includes common features like rich string manipulation, timers, and running tasks.
  • A user interface framework that allows attachment of dynamic behaviors to HTML across browsers, addressing differing scripting behaviors found with cross-browser usage.

Atlas offers the same development platform for client-based web pages that ASP.NET offers for server-based pages, with full integration of server-based services. Significant portions of application processing are moved to the client while communication with the server is maintained in the background.

Atlas is a downloadable piece of JavaScript code and will work across any Web browser that supports AJAX technologies. It does not require any client installation at all, requiring only that the user simply include references to the correct script files in the page in development. Atlas may also be accessed through Microsoft's Visual Studio 2005 development tools.

This was last updated in November 2007

Continue Reading About Atlas

Dig Deeper on Microsoft certification exams