Microsoft has updated the roadmap showing the future for ASP.NET. The plans include better templates and work on OData functionality in the Web API.
The way forward for ASP.NET has been updated and the details given in a roadmap on the ASP.NET pages on CodePlex. There is a caveat, so don’t take this as proof that ASP.NET has a glowing future.
According to the announcement, this is a planning document, not a specification of what is to come. It states:
“We hope to implement most or all of the features listed here, but there are no guarantees. Plans can change.”
In case you are confused - many are - ASP .NET has changed into a collection of technologies many of which have little to do with the original ASP .NET, which is now called ASP .NET Web Forms. In the mix is ASP .NET Web API; which is the next generation of WCF, ASP .NET MVC, which is an MVC framework; and ASP .NET Web Pages; which is based on the Razor code generator and allows you to mix HTML and C#.
The roadmap gives details of what might be happening to ASP .NET MVC, API and Pages - no news of classic Web Forms.
One of the two main areas highlighted in the new roadmap is the Web API. This is going to be extended to provide better support for OData. A new OData URI parser will add OData query support, and the query semantics will be programmable from apps. You’ll also be able to implement OData endpoints over any data source using the new OData formatter, metadata controller, and modeling capabilities.
The runtime components for MVC will stay at the current level of functionality, and work will instead take place on the templates to create more options for building various types of web applications. Support for SignalR is being added with new templates. SignalR lets you add real-time features to web applications using WebSockets and similar transports. There will be item templates for adding SignalR connections and hubs to an ASP.NET application as well as a full project template that integrates with ASP.NET MVC and ASP.NET.
The plans include a new MVC-based template that uses Knockout.js and Web API controllers to show the best way to write a Single Page Application (SPA). The support will also include tooling updates for Visual Studio that make client side development easier with support for LESS, CoffeeScript, syntax highlighting for Knockout.js, HandleBars, Mustache, Paste and JSON as Classes.
The new SPA template is replacing the one included in the beta of Visual Studio 2012. The previous template was based on Upshot.js and a special Web API-based DataController that provided support for insert, update, and delete operations. Work has been ended on that template and Upshot.js for this version.
Other template improvements include a new project template for making Facebook applications using ASP.NET. This will handle Facebook authentication, app permissions, keep user data up to date and provide easy access to the C# Facebook SDK. The MVC Mobile templates are being improved to get over the problems with the template caching too aggressively or too weakly.
So is this good or bad?
At this stage, Microsoft clearly needs to provide more guidance in the post .NET era. Instead it seems to be inventing lots of new approaches to creating websites and branding them ASP.NET, which gives the impression that ASP (Active Server Pages is still alive and well. This isn't doing anyone any favors - even if the technologies are intrinsically good and interesting.