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ASP.NET AJAX Control Toolkit: A large, open-source framework

Microsoft's ASP.NET AJAX Control Toolkit promises a plethora of free controls for common Ajax functionality.

Microsoft's ASP.NET AJAX Control Toolkit is as open source as Microsoft gets, as Scott Guthrie noted in his blog entry announcing the toolkit. The ASP.NET AJAX group will set up a source control repository where developers can report bugs or contribute their own controls, said Guthrie, who leads that development group.

There will also be regular binary drops. "This first release is just the beginning," Guthrie wrote. Microsoft's goal, he added, is to have the ASP.NET AJAX Control Toolkit contain "between 50-100 useful, high-quality Atlas controls over the next few months," Guthrie wrote.

The initial release consists of nine controls. Known issues exist for some of the controls.


  • CascadingDropDown: This extender is attached to an ASP.NET DropDownList control. After a user makes a selection, the list calls back to a Web service to get data for the next DropDownList in the set.
  • Collapsible Panel: This extender can be used with any ASP.NET Panel control. In addition, on client postback it automatically restores its client state.
  • ConfirmButtonExtender: This catches clicks on a button-type class and displays a message to the end user.
  • DragPanel: This functionality works with any ASP.NET panel and signifies the control as the so-called "drag handle."
  • HoverMenu: Attachable to any ASP.NET WebControl, this extender associates that control to a pop-up panel, the position of which is specified by the developer.
    More on ASP.NET AJAX development

    Reference: Mini-Guide to Microsoft Atlas

    News:Microsoft unleashes Atlas at MIX06

    Guide: Getting started with ASP.NET AJAX development

  • PopupControl Extender: This can be added to any control in order to open a pop-up window. The window itself can support server-based processing and can contain ASP.NET server controls, HTML elements and other content types.
  • ReorderList Control: This allows a user to change the order of a list simply by clicking on an item's control bar and moving it to the new spot. The control can also be bound to a data source, in which case it behaves like any other databound control.
  • TextBoxWatermark Extendter: This ASP.NET TextBox control allows a TextBox to display information to end users in the form of a watermark based on a custom CSS style. The watermark disappears once the user starts typing.
  • ToggleButton Extender: This CheckBox control allows a developer to use custom images to show the state of the CheckBox without affecting its behavior.

    UPDATE: Vendors Telerik and ComponentArt have announced ASP.NET AJAX support in their control packages, Guthrie wrote here. In addition, Microsoft released four more controls:

  • AlwaysVisibleControl: This extender, which applies to any ASP.NET control, keeps a control in the same position in a browser window as a user scrolls up and down.
  • ModalPopup: In this extender, information like an "OK/Cancel" window is presented in a pop-up window that prevents users from interacting with the rest of the page.
  • DropShadow: This applies a drop shadow to a panel.
  • RoundedCorners: This applies rounded corners to a control.

    Click here to check out samples of each control before downloading them. This page also offers links to brief instructions on setting up your development environment, using a sample extender and creating a new extender.

    To download the samples, go to this page.

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