To build effective and attractive database-driven web sites, you need two things: a solid and fast framework to run your web pages on and a rich and extensive environment to create and program these web pages. With ASP.NET 3.5 and Visual Web Developer 2008 you get both. Together they form the platform to create dynamic and interactive web applications.
ASP.NET 3.5 builds on top of its popular predecessor ASP.NET 2.0. While maintaining backward compatibility with sites built using this older version, the Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5 in general and ASP.NET 3.5 in particular add a lot of new, compelling features to the mix. Continuing the path of “less code” that was entered with the 2.0 version of the .NET Framework, ASP.NET 3.5 lets you accomplish more with even less code. New features like LINQ that are added to the .NET Frame work allow you to access a database with little to no handwritten code. The integration of Microsoft ASP.NET Ajax into the ASP.NET Framework and Visual Web Developer means you can now create fast-responding and spiffy web interfaces simply by dragging a few controls onto your page and setting a few properties. This book gives you an in-depth look at both of these technologies.
The support for Cascading Style Sheets (CSS), the language to lay out and format web pages, has undergone a major overhaul in Visual Web Developer. The design-time support, that shows you how a page will eventually look in the browser, has been vastly improved. Additionally, Visual Web Developer now ships with a lot of tools that make writing CSS a breeze. However, drag-and-drop support and visual tools are not the only things you’ll learn from this book.
Under the hood, ASP.NET 3.5 makes use of the same run time as version 2.0. This ensures a great backward compatibility with that version, which means that ASP.NET 2.0 applications continue to run under the new framework. But don’t be fooled by the fact that the run time hasn’t changed. Although the technical underpinnings needed to execute your web application haven’t changed, the .NET 3.5 Framework and ASP.NET add a lot of new features, as you’ll discover in this book.
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