Just Add Water

Just what are Microsoft’s ASP.NET Starter Kits? Elden Nelsongives you the scoop.

Elden Nelson

October 30, 2009

3 Min Read
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Just Add Water


By Elden Nelson


I don't think I've written an application from scratch,top-to-bottom, since college. Or maybe not since high school. I'd much ratherspend a little time and find someone else's code that does what I need - orclose to what I need - and make it my own. And I'm betting that because you'rereading this magazine, where we make a big fuss about the fact that we give youlots of working code, you're not opposed to adapting code to your own purposes,either.


Well, you and I now have a lot of great new ingredients towork with as we make our ASP.NET cakes. Microsoft is assembling five ASP.NETStarter Kits - free downloads  thatshould make creating some of the most common Web apps a much simpler task (http://www.asp.net/starterkits).And asp.netPRO will take you inside these kits, showing you how to usethem, tweak them, and where the good stuff is.


What's in the Kits?

According to Shawn Nandi, Microsoft's ASP.NET productmanager, "The ASP.NET Starter Kits are designed to help developers kick-starttheir projects by delivering a solid base of code to build on." There are fiveof these kits, each addressing one of the most common ASP.NET developmentprojects. Each has both inline and code-behind versions available. Here's aquick overview of what these kits are and do:

  • Community: The Community Starter Kit lets youquickly create a community Web site such as a user group site, a developerresource site, or a news site. Nandi notes that you can use this Starter Kit as"a basic working community site out of the box - no coding required." It willlet you maintain nine different content types including articles, events,links, downloads, a photo gallery, and more.

  • Portal: This one will be familiar to anyonewho's visited IBuySpy (http://www.ibuyspy.com). In additionto Web-based administration and content management, the portal also is easy toextend. It's not a bad place to start learning how to put ASP.NET and the .NETFramework to work, whether for an Internet/intranet portal or as a base foryour own ASP.NET applications.

  • Time Tracker: This line-of-business applicationlets you track how much time you've put into projects. It also lets projectmanagers track the status of projects they manage by viewing users' timeentries as well as create detailed reports for those time entries. As you diginto this app, you'll see a real-world example of globalization, charting withGDI+, mobile Web forms, and role-based security using a custom principal forrole authorization.

  • Reports:This Starter Kit is a guide for creating and publishing customizable Webreports using ASP.NET. Using eight samples, the Reports Starter Kit presentsfunctional online reports and their printer-friendly equivalents. Expect to seegood examples of displaying relational data, DataGrid paging and sorting, andserver control nesting.

  • Commerce: Here's another one that might give youa sense of d j vu. Based on the IBuySpy storefront, the CommerceStarter Kit demonstrates basic online shopping tasks, including a productcatalog, user authentication and personalization, shopping baskets, and ordercheckout.


Get More With asp.netPRO

By themselves, the Starter Kits are very useful - no doubtabout that. Starting in the June 2003 issue of asp.netPRO, though, we'regoing to make them even more helpful. Even now, we're dissecting the StarterKits, looking at how they work, finding the best parts, and seeing how you cantake parts of these apps and use them in whole different ways. We'll also showyou how you can extend them, customizing them for your own needs. Issue byissue, we'll show you how to squeeze every last drop of useful code out ofthese apps.


Are these Starter Kits something you can use? ShouldMicrosoft be working on additional Starter Kits? Tell me what you think. Sendme e-mail at [email protected].


Elden Nelson is editor-in-chief of asp.netPRO and itscompanion e-newsletter, asp.netNOW.


Tell us what you think! Please send any comments aboutthis article to [email protected].Please include the article title and author.




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