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ASP.NET 3.5 AJAX Unleashed



ASP.NET 3.5 AJAX Unleashed

Weighing in at barely more than 250 pages, ASP.NET 3.5 AJAX Unleashed is devoted exclusively to the subject of leveraging the AJAX library for ASP.NET applications. What could have been relegated as a single chapter in a much larger ASP.NET book has instead been created almost as a supplement to SAMS' older ASP.NET Unleashed, written by Stephen Walther. However, given the hefty cover price of nearly forty dollars, SAMS is obviously hoping ASP.NET developers working on AJAX projects are challenged enough by the prospect to pay for such assistance.


The first two chapters consist of promoting the reasons why AJAX is a compelling technology for ASP.NET developers to adopt. There also are examples of AJAX code in action to acclimate the reader to the code driving the Web 2.0 presentation phenomenon.


The second part contains the bulk of the book, and spans eight chapters. Chapter 3 reviews the ScriptManager and ScriptManagerProxy controls. Understanding these are vital to ASP.NET AJAX mastery, as they are the foundation for most AJAX rendering. Chapter 4 explores the ASP.NET AJAX Client API and the JavaScript Object Notation (JSON) calls being managed by the auto-generated JavaScript. With these two chapters understood, the book delves in to the UpdatePanel and Timer controls in Chapter 5 and the PageRequestManager object in Chapter 6, respectively.


Chapter 7 is one of the largest in the book, discussing the ASP.NET AJAX Control Toolkit (available for download as a CodePlex community project at This versatile kit, comprised of more than 35 AJAX controls, is a must for any ASP.NET developer. Not only are the controls well implemented, they're available for the right price free!


Chapters 8 and 9 cover building an ASP.NET AJAX extender control from the Control Toolkit base and integrating with Microsoft SharePoint 2007, respectively. Chapter 10 concludes Part II with a brief chapter on creating AJAX-enabled Vista sidebar gadgets. Part III contains two appendixes: one on prototyping web pages using Microsoft Expression Web, and one on deploying the .NET Framework 3.5 as a SharePoint Feature.


Author and multi-Microsoft certified professional Robert Foster goes far beyond the documentation accompanying Microsoft's ASP.NET AJAX controls in Visual Studio 2008 and the ASP.NET AJAX Control Toolkit. His explanations clearly describe the major phases of an AJAX session, with many code snippets accompanied by their screen-captured results. Foster also injects even greater value thanks to his frequent call-out Notes that clearly illustrate his mastery of the subject and the speed bumps he hit along the way in the path of his own learning.


Overall, ASP.NET 3.5 AJAX Unleashed provides a solid base to quickly learn and launch new AJAX-enabled ASP.NET ideas. The author presents clear, organized, and thoughtful procedures and discussions, while trimming verbosity from the pages. While I suspect the publisher wanted to provide readers with an interim title before the next major release of ASP.NET justifies another ASP.NET Unleashed edition, this pricey supplement offers an adequate stepping stone for developers who need to quickly learn the code driving ASP.NET AJAX web applications today.


Mike Riley



Title: ASP.NET 3.5 AJAX Unleashed

Authors: Robert Foster

Publisher: SAMS Publishing (Pearson Education/InformIT)

ISBN: 978-0-672-32973-9

Web Site:

Price: US$39.99

Page Count: 264



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