While the burst of creativity that Ajax has inspired among web developers seems to have energized the work of the ASP.NET team and stimulated a host of innovations, from the client framework to xml-script to the
UpdatePanel control, Microsoft has not yet indicated when or how Atlas might be packaged for final release. Currently, the ASP.NET team is releasing periodic preview versions of Atlas
and interacting with the community, and that’s the technology that is described in this book. For the March preview release, the ASP.NET team included a go-live license,
which is permission to release applications that contain Atlas bits. The go-live license is not a guarantee that Atlas is frozen, or even that it won’t change, but it does mean that Microsoft is OK with your creating live applications with the technologies you will read about here.
The goal of this book is to give you an insider’s view of how Atlas and ASP.NET integrate with Ajax and to provide a through grounding in Microsoft’s overall approach to enriching web UI. Even though Atlas will undoubtedly change by the time it is officially released, the concepts and the overall Atlas technology that you read about here will almost certainly remain essentially the same. What you learn about Atlas in this book will serve you well even if details change, as they likely will.
Ultimately, Atlas will take its rightful place as a key component of the next release of ASP.NET and will be fully supported with designers, IntelliSense, and debugging tools in a future release of Visual Studio.