Microsoft's ASP.Net Ajax framework -- the product formerly code-named "Atlas" -- is done. Microsoft released the tool to the Web for download on January 23.
The tool, designed for developers of rich Web applications, is free and works with ASP.Net 2.0 and Visual Studio 2005. The product comes with a standard 10-year Microsoft support license and 24 X 7 phone support, explained Scott Guthrie, general manager of Microsoft's developer division, on his blog. Microsoft is releasing the source code for the Microsoft Ajax Library under the Microsoft Permissive License (MS-PL), which allows developers to freely customize/modify the library and distribute derivative versions for commercial and noncommercial use.
What's next for Microsoft on the Atlas front? According to Guthrie:
"We are also already at work on the next ASP.NET AJAX release, and will continue to add new features and improvements to the supported ASP.NET AJAX core. You can already start using many of these new features with the ASP.NET AJAX Futures CTP (available for download now on the ASP.NET AJAX site - it also supports a "go live" license)."
For a product that -- last we heard -- was expected to ship before the end of 2007, Visual Studio Orcas is sure flying under the radar. Microsoft officials are promising the first "real" test release of Orcas will hit some time in the next month or two.