The technology that is the foundation of the Ajax platform is taking the Web by storm. By using the capabilities of contemporary browsers to their fullest, Ajax enables a new level of rich user experiences for the Web with technologies that are fully standardized and broadly available.
Ajax’s underlying capabilities have been available for some time in browsers such as Internet Explorer, but only in recent years has the Web evolved to bring these capabilities into the mainstream, making richer web experiences commonplace. For developers, however, providing these experiences also increases the complexity of web development.
When we set out to develop Atlas in 2005, we wanted to dramatically simplify Ajax-style web application development and make it easy for any developer to build a rich, interactive, personalized web experience for the browser. Atlas addresses many of the key challenges of Ajax development, including:
One of the key advantages of Ajax is that it is based on widely deployed standards-based browsers. However, building an application that is consistent on all browsers is still a challenge for developers because of implementation differences in browsers. Atlas works on a wide variety of modern browsers and platforms and also includes a browser compatibility layer that reduces the pain of cross-browser development. Atlas is fully compliant with existing web standards, including XHTML and CSS.
Vast numbers of web applications today use server-based application platforms such as ASP.NET, PHP, or J2EE. By providing a choice of server- or client-centric programming models, Atlas lets developers easily extend and enrich these applications.
If you’re not using ASP.NET on the server, Atlas also integrates well with other server platforms such as PHP, as illustrated in this book.
Building great user experiences requires good, consistent design combined with code to bring the designs to action. Atlas makes it easy to implement these experiences in a consistent way, because many core UI patterns, such as drag-and-drop, floating windows, and graphical animations, are built into the framework. For a comprehensive collection of controls and UI patterns, you can use the Atlas Control Toolkit (available in source code form), which was developed in partnership with our developer community.
XMLHttpRequest, and JSON.
Christian Wenz covers each topic in a clear, easily understandable style, with lots of practical examples and sample code. I am particularly fond of the chapter on using Atlas with other server technologies. Christian is well versed in PHP and helped me put together the samples I used to illustrate the great integration of Atlas with other server platforms.
It has been very exciting to work on Atlas over the past year, and I hope it will be an important part of your development toolbox. If you are looking to develop richer, more interactive experiences for your web applications and sites, Atlas and this book can provide you with a great start. I hope you enjoy them.
Product Unit Manager
UI Framework and Services Team