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What Is ASP.NET Ajax?

ASP.NET Ajax, formerly known as Atlas, is an extension of ASP.NET 2.0. It allows you to leverage the power of Ajax while developing ASP.NET Ajax web applications. The MSDN states, "ASP.NET Ajax is a set of technologies to add Ajax (Asynchronous JavaScript and XML) support to ASP.NET. It consists of a client-side script framework, server controls, and more. Although Ajax is essentially a client-side technique, most of its real-world deployments call for server-side processing."

The ASP.NET Ajax architecture has a framework developed for both client side and server side. The client-side framework comes in the form of the Microsoft Ajax Library. This Library includes a collection of client-side libraries that include support for creating client-side components, browser compatibility, managing asynchronous requests, web and application services, different core services in serialization, JavaScript base class extensions, and so on.

The ASP.NET Ajax server components consist of several web server controls and components to handle the flow and the user interface. It also shows the functionality of ASP.NET 2.0 Ajax server extensions, which include support for localization, globalization, debugging, tracing, web services, and application services.

Moreover, ASP.NET Ajax has come up with several server controls—namely, ScriptManager, UpdatePanel, UpdateProgress, and Timer—that enable a faster response. These controls are responsible for faster updates, better response times, and improved performance and efficiency. We'll look at each of these controls in detail in the hours that follow.

ASP.NET Ajax also provides web services that can be used from the client script to work with different application services for forms authentication and user profiles. There are several ASP.NET application services provided with the Ajax server extensions, which can be accessed by web service calls from the client script. This data transfer can be handled by different network components that make it easy to return results of a web service call.

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