Ajax Control Toolkit released for .NET 3.5 SP1

I just released the latest version of the Ajax Control Toolkit for .NET 3.5 SP1.

This is an intermediary release that provides a version of the Toolkit that is built against the .NET Framework 3.5 SP1. It contains a new control, MultiHandleSlider, built by Daniel Crenna (thanks, Daniel, you're the hero of this release) and integrates patches contributed by the community. A big thank you to all who contributed (see their names in the hall of fame).
The sample web site is not yet updated to this new release, this will be done in a couple of days. I will update this post once this is done.

In the very short term, we will provide We are also providing a client-side only version of the toolkit, similar to the Microsoft Ajax Library, that enables the development of Toolkit-based applications that do not rely on server-side ASP.NET. This version can also be used in performance-intensive scenarios where resource-based scripts and resources are not desirable, or if you simply prefer to work with files.

What's next?

Our top priority following this release is bug fixing in order to get back to a stable and low number of bugs. We also have a number of contributors working on new controls, following the priorities the community communicated us.
As usual, all feedback is very welcome.


UPDATE: the file-only version of the toolkit is now available from the release page. I also added a dll-only download for people who just want the executable and no source or sample code.


  • Here's my honest feedback (rant): wtf?

    From February to August and Microsoft, one of the biggest software companies in the world manages to release one new ajax control that is donated to them! It's a bit sad really.

    And it's proof that Microsoft in general doesn't care. I believe you personally care for this project, it's just that Microsoft sees more value in the proprietary Silverlight instead of working on an project bases on open standards.

    In fact, several blogging developers have already acknowledged that they couldn't work on this project because they had to develop Silverlight controls.

    Now you say the top priority is fixing bugs. Well, you go ahead and do that, while jQuery finishes the second version of their UI project, Ext gets adapted to even more platforms and YUI releases their brand new 3.0.

    I want to leave you with this observation: IF the community contribution are not what you'd like, do you think that might be because of the reputation of Microsoft? After all, why help Microsoft build their 'open source' software, when they called other such projects a cancer?

    You reap what you sow.

    -A developer continually disappointed in the Ajax offerings by Microsoft.

  • @Mike: In the period you mention, we shipped the history feature, script combining, client-side templating and client-side databinding. Next preview of the Ajax framework is next week and will add more client-side data management.
    Are you saying we shouldn't fix bugs?
    Actually I never said the community contribution isn't what I'd like. As a matter of facts we have quite a number of people working on new controls as I write and I'm quite happy about the quality of most of the stuff that gets contributed.
    I know perceptions are hard to change and the most efficient way to do that is with action, and I recognize we haven't sent the clearest signals these last few months but I hope our actions in the next months will show you that your perception that we only care about Silverlight is completely wrong.

  • I see there no longer a version for VS 2005. I still have a number of projects that are in ASP.NET 2.0 using VS 2005, I guess I will need to down grade the latest release to get the bug fixes.

    By the way there are some typos on the codeplex page www.codeplex.com/AjaxControlToolkit/Release/ProjectReleases.aspx?ReleaseId=16488 and the samples page asp.net/ajax/ajaxcontroltoolkit/samples/ relating to VS 2005 and the release numbers

  • @Matt: you can also download the source code and compile against 2.0. If there is a lot of demand, we'll add a 2.0 version.
    Thanks for the heads up on the typos.

  • It would be a great idea having 2.0 version too. Few servers I work with haven't 3.5 framework :(
    In the meantime I'll recompile sources.

    Thanks a lot!

  • Mike,

    Although I agree with that there should be more released of Control Toolkit and moreover I wish it had more controls, I don't think Microsoft doesn't really care. They have Silverlight, but Silverlight is a bit different technology. Anyway, you can still use 3-rd party AJAX libraries.

  • @Shail: I agree with you and we want to improve the documentation, especially for the client-side object model.

    @Paul: let me know how that goes. For the moment, I've had little demand for it but I'm totally open if that's too mauch of a pain.

    @Mike: that's an excellent point, and most third party Ajax libraries work great with ASP.NET. I think you should have a choice of the style of library you like best.

    @Cirus: it's live, go download it now! You might also want to check out the new script combining feature in SP1. We are putting more resources into Ajax now. The team is growing an I hope you'll see tangible results of that in the following months.

  • Most of my projects are running using vs2005, so i really wish that it still can provide update on this version too.

  • You mention 4 features, of which 2 are in a preview release. I responded to THIS release.

    I never said you shouldn't fix bugs, of course you should. But you should also release new features, and I have been disappointed on that front.

    Also, I capitalized the word IF, because I was speculating about contributions. You indicate my speculation was wrong, but I have yet to see proof because in 6 months you have added 1 contributed control. That's not impressive. So I thought you might not get many contributions then.

    Oh and thanks for saying that the lack of new stuff is perception, that's like saying I'm delusional, it's all in my head. You guys have yet to release any kind of tree or grid control after 2 years (not even an extender for the GridView). It's not perception, it's fact.

    And I understand YOU are excited about Ajax and dedicated, it's just that your company is NOT. It is not perception, but simple fact, that Ajax programmers were working on Silverlight controls. Therefore, Silverlight had absolute priority for Microsoft in the last year.

  • @Mike: never said you were delusional, but not being in the company, you have to rely on external perception, which is wrong more often than right.
    Microsoft is a big company with a lot of customers, some of which build rich Internet applications today using Silverlight, and some of which build standard-based web applications. We just cannot afford to only address one of those audiences.
    Microsoft is more than big enough that it can work on several things at the same time. Saying that Silverlight is the absolute priority for Microsoft is absurd: I think if Microsoft could only think about one thing at a time, it would probably be Windows 7 right now, not Silverlight.
    It's really quite simple actually: our customers want to build Ajax applications on top of ASP.NET, we provide them with the tools to do so, it drives adoption for ASP.NET, which in turn drives Windows Server sales.
    Now you tell me about resources that left the ACT to work on Silverlight controls. Right, so two of the devs that were working on ACT now work on Silverlight. At Microsoft, like in any big company, people change jobs from time to time. Guess what? They get replaced. For example, I wasn't working on the toolkit one year ago. Would you conclude from it that now all that Microsoft cares about is the Toolkit?

  • How could we know anything that happens at Microsoft. It's all so closed, I must have asked on 10 blogs what was happening with Ajax the past year. Should we invest time in it? Where's the gridview/treeview/rich editor? Is that even coming? Should I wait or go with a different tool? Nobody answered. Everywhere I looked I saw Silverlight being discussed. I even mailed Scott Guthrie about it, usually very open, no answer, just silence...

    What I express is my frustration, so perhaps we have a communication problem?

    "Our top priority following this release is bug fixing in order to get back to a stable and low number of bugs. We also have a number of contributors working on new controls, following the priorities the community communicated us."

    I find that frustrating, because I see the post title in my reader, and I'm seriously excited. I think, oh boy, this will be cool. The general 3.5 SP1 release had so much great new stuff, like dynamic data and entity framework, let's see what's new for Ajax. Well, 1 control and some bugfixes. Disappointing! What's next? More bugfixes and waiting for the community to do controls? Disappointing!

    One reason I'm excited about ASP.NET MVC, so I don't have to wait on Microsoft for the Ajax anymore, I would just use YUI, done. Have you seen the 3.0 alpha? That's amazing!

  • @Mike: did you ask here? Scott is a very busy man so I don't think it's a question of openness. There are people working on a grid and a rich text editor. There are several third-party components also (including free, open-source ones). Do you need links? ASP.NET has had an Ajax-enabled TreeView since 2.0 (and the rendering is reasonably good when using the CSS adapters).

  • Oh, didn't see the second part of your comment, apologies. Again, I think you're being unfair: SP1 has script combining and browser history management, and the Ajax Preview has lots of great stuff such as the template-driven DataView and live bindings. So "what's new for Ajax" is much more than "1 control and some bugfixes".
    On the toolkit front, I never said I was counting solely on the community: contributors can be internal and external, and indeed a good share of these contributors are Microsoft employees. When I'm saying that our top priority is fixing bugs, it doesn't mean we're *only* doing that, just that we think that's what's most needed today. I understand that you disagree with these priorities and your feedback is well understood. Now I have to weight that against the feedback from the rest of the community.
    Finally, YUI works great on top of ASP.NET and if you like that library (or jQuery or whatever), that's perfectly fine by me. Really.

  • System.TypeLoadException: Could not load type 'System.Web.UI.ScriptReferenceBase' from assembly 'System.Web.Extensions, Version=, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=31bf3856ad364e35'.

  • When will the toolkit specifically the toolkitscriptmanager be updated so that the following error will not occur? My remote server does not have sp1 on it and the host is still testing sp1 before doing any final installs so installation of sp1 is not an option yet.

    System.TypeLoadException: Could not load type 'System.Web.UI.ScriptReferenceBase' from assembly 'System.Web.Extensions, Version=, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=31bf3856ad364e35'.

  • @Showjumper: the latest release is only compiled against 3.5 SP1 and we're not planning on releasing a 3.5 version. If you need a non-SP1 version, you'll have to download a previous version or recompile against 3.5. Sorry about that.

  • Bertrand,

    I was (am) another one of the frustrated users who felt abandoned when the Ajax Control Toolkit was getting left behind by other ajax libraries. In 2007 when we were choosing which ajax package to go with, we were confident that MS's offering was the best choice -- after all, there was so much excitement and so many great, working examples. However, this past year (2008) has shaken our confidence a bit. Only Saltine crackes go stale quicker than the Ajax Control Toolkit did! C'mon! The ACT sample page still refers to February's 20229 build! To be fair though, our website is running well -- albeit with 2007 ajax technology.

    The word I would choose to summarise the MS Ajax effort this year would be "disappointing", but the word I choose to describe the effort from this point forward is "hopeful."

    I wish you the best of luck leading the ACT team and resurrecting the effort. Your posts on the asp.net forums and here are what got us up and running in 2007 in the first place! Thanks for that. I'm sure we'll see even greater things to come.

    On a side note, the ajax preview packages didn't cut it for us. We needed components that were fully-released, so our system is currently running a mix of ACT and YUI. If YUI beats you to the punch with a fully released v3 in 2009, we may have to switch completely since maintaining an additional library just for the update panel (yeah, i know use it sparingly) doesn't make much sense. Hopefully (there's that word again) you'll give us a reason to do it the other way around.

  • Hello!

    I really like the release!

    However, since I am also checking out the ASP.NET MVC Framework, I am wondering about the plans the move the Ajax Control Toolkit to supporting the ASP.NET MVC Framework?

  • See this post for some details on using the toolkit with MVC:

  • Can you please provide one single static file for AjaxcontrolTooKit controls. We would cache this file for all our applications. I did try combining file by file but problem is sequence of file. Some file are dependent on other tookit file.


  • @Rshaikh: very few applications need the whole set of controls. One thing you can do is use the profiling tool to generate the combined file you need, in the right order. http://www.codeplex.com/aspnet/Release/ProjectReleases.aspx?ReleaseId=13356

  • Yes every apps don't need whole set, but our application is very large and each app teams develops different application, we can't track who is using which control. For profiling we need to put all controls in one page and then run profiler.

    We want to make one js file for all controls and cache it for whole applications.


  • @Rshaikh: yes, you would need to build a sample page with all the controls and then run the profiler, but that's probably the easiest way to get the full list of scripts in the right order.

  • @Bertrand Le Roy (21 Aug 2008) said
    Next preview of the Ajax framework is next week
    The toolkit is great. but I feel like we have been left in libo with the status of the project with the last release being on the 20 Aug 08 which was forced due to the 3.5SP1 framework update.

    I dont have an issue with the time between now and the previous update, its the lack of information thats the problem. The toolkit project shows their are no planned releases.

    Can we please have a date for the next planned release and what has been/will be done in the next release.

  • @Buzz: just look at the great controls that have been added since the last release. In particular, last week, we got a fantastic rich text editor, which was in very high demand. We will try to do a new release soon, but you can already download the latest source code drop and compile it to get the new controls.

  • @Bertrand Le Roy
    Thanks for the reply.
    I was not thinking about new controls, but fixs to existing ones. Such as the rating control can not centre justify in a div (it always floats left) in IE8 and firefox 3.05 (ok in IE7).

    We can see various issues have been fixed, looking at the issue tracker, but I don't want to download a version which may not be a stable release.

  • @Buzz: I apologize about the delay. We'll try to get a new release out as soon as we can.

  • @Navin: are you sure you downloaded the right release? The most recent one is:

  • Bertrand,
    Thanks for the prompt response. The problem's solved though. The release that I had downloaded yesterday was indeed the latest one.

    Problem was, the link that I mentioned in my previous post, refers to the new control as 'HtmlEditor'. However, the actual name of the control is simply 'Editor'. I sorted the controls in the toolbox alphabetically(always do that) and looked up only the items starting with 'H'. Naturally, couldn't find it...

    Ran a quick eye through all the controls in the toolkit today and found what I wanted. :)

  • IceFaces better than all .Net framework

Comments have been disabled for this content.