Sunday, March 27, 2005

ASP.Net Thoughts and impressions

I've spent a lot of the past few days working and experimenting with ASP.Net, at this point I feel it's more than ready for 'prime time' for certain types of websites. Content driven sites are a natural for this technology, however I think there's still a lot to be done to make it a straight up viable contender for sites that are graphical in nature.

Sure, you can place graphics on the pages and then define text regions that are populated from text stored in almost any manner you choose. However, in order to be really impressive it needs a 'templating' facility. A mechanism (within the IDE) that will allow the developer to integrate their design ideas with the power of ASP.Net.

Make no mistake about it, this is a powerful environment, one that can truly make web content as dymanic as the owners would like it to be. Unfortunately, as it stands right now, we still need a product like Dreamweaver or Xara Webstyle to produce the layout template and graphics, import that 'template' to the project and then populate the textual components from within Visual Studio.

I'd like to see a tool, even better than the current version of the VB Windows forms designer, that would allow 'Flash' type templates to be built, controlled and tested within one IDE. Hopefully either Microsoft, or someone like the folks at Dreamweaver will see the benefit in this and build that 'extended' IDE for the rest of us!

In the meantime, I'll continue to find ways to combine ASP.Net and products like Xara until I get the right mix to suit me. Unless I find a project that will pay me to further this idea, I'm afraid that it will sit with a lot of other good ideas there wasn't time, or money, to pursue... Such is the plight of most of us developers, we have a ton of great ideas, but we're too busy earning a living or finding tiem to spend with our families, to really dig in a develop them all!


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