.NET FAQs Unleashed!

Web 2.0 and ASP.NET


By Vishal Khanna


What is Web 2.0? – is an evolutionary term that has evolved as a result of developments in the World Wide Web. The term was invented by O’Reilly & Media, and discussed globally for the first time at the Web 2.0 Conference in the year 2004. Technically, there is no standard or formal definition for Web 2.0, though it broadly includes and encapsulates a wide array of web-based computer features including Social Bookmarking, Content Tagging, Web Blogs, Wikis, RSS feeds, Podcasts, reusable Web APIs such as Widgets or Gadgets, Online Web Services, Online Service Provider, Software Download, Blackberry enabled interfaces through Mobile Devices, chatrooms. Discussion threads, and more. Perhaps, the day a formal definition for Web 2.0 is recognized, the gateways for consolidating Web 3.0 standards will open.


As Web 2.0 is the buzzword technology of the day, it is important to learn how ASP.NET can be leveraged to tap and aggregate the group of features that promote Web 2.0 culture and architecture.


How and why ASP.NET promotes and leverages Web 2.0? A veteran ASP.NET architect, or maybe even a naïve user who is interested in Web 2.0, may certainly go to great extents to construct and build highly scalable applications, using a combination of inbuilt .NET controls, 3rd Party controls, technologies and computer concepts. As ASP.NET is a time tested and proven technology, based on which millions of stable websites are running, it is an apt choice for building Web 2.0 driven websites.


Listed below are a few features that are exhibited by ASP.NET as a technology, and how these features fit in the Web 2.0 paradigm.


1)      Ajax – ASP.NET supports Ajax (Asynchronous Javascript and XML, which is nothing but flicker-free partial page client-server interaction),  This may be done using the ScriptManager and UpdatePanel controls. Here is where you should start: http://www.asp.net/ajax/

2)      CSS – ASP.NET supports cascading stylesheets, which simplifies the web designer’s life by allowing web page styles using stylesheet classes.

3)      RSS Support – though internally there isn’t any control within ASP.NET, however, the RSS/Atom concept is vastly supported by ASP.NET through the use of RSS generators, RSS readers that readily generate XML code and promote to and from movement of data from RSS feeds to RSS readers across websites.

4)      Sensible URL – With the advent of URL routing features, especially in ASP.NET 4.0 (currently in beta version), URLs may be easily re-written, and thus make sense in terms of readability, and search engine optimization. This is a must read: http://weblogs.asp.net/scottgu/archive/2009/10/13/url-routing-with-asp-net-4-web-forms-vs-2010-and-net-4-0-series.aspx

5)      XHTML and Valid XML support – with high standards in terms of the HTML structure of the web pages, the maintenance, readability and weight of web pages remains highly robust and scalable.

6)      Tag Clouds – with a little bit of simple code, the concept of tag clouds, that promotes readability of tagged website content, can certainly be implemented. You may refer this article: http://aspnet.4guysfromrolla.com/articles/102506-1.aspx

7)      Wikis – there is a huge clout of ASP.NET wikis, mostly available for free, that may be integrated in Web 2.0 websites. You may refer this link for open source wikis: http://www.dotnetuncle.com/Open-Source-CSharp.aspx

8)      Widgets and Gadgets – these are ready to use tools, that may be plug and played in websites, which as simple as copy paste of code snippets from the widget owner websites to your own Web 2.0 enabled websites. Through these, you save a lot of your own web resources. Providers such as www.widgetbox.com are quite popular. Must also checkout Google Gadgets.

9)      Video Players – lightweight APIs for playing and streaming video are popular entities of Web 2.0 based websites. ASP.NET supports hosting such APIs within their framework to play such videos. Such controls are also freely available from sites such as www.Youtube.com.  

10)  Blog publishing – blogs are a must-must feature of web portals these days. In parallel, ASP.NET has a mushroom of ready-to-use blogs, that are extremely simple to use. See here for a few free blogs: http://www.dotnetuncle.com/Open-Source-CSharp.aspx

11)  Link Sharing – it is extremely easy to plug link sharing APIs in any ASP.NET web application. Example provider – www.sharethis.com



Vishal Khanna