Ajax Progress Image Generator

I was in need of an Ajax-style animated gif that could be used to indicate that something is going on in the background or loading. I have seen them on hundreds of sites, but I don’t feel comfortable just copying someone else’s image to use for myself.

After a bit of searching, I found this site: AjaxLoad.Info. This is a nice, simple site that generates 37 different “loading” animated gifs, allowing you to customize the style, foreground and background colors, and transparency. Definitely a good site to know about.

Items of Interest: 2006.04.21

Things I found interesting on April 21, 2006:

  • The Code Wont be Ready – Bruce Kroeze breaks the bad news to his soon-to-be former employers when they accepted a project they shouldn’t have
  • A Tour of Microsoft’s Mac Labs – Along with pictures (including 150 Mac Mini’s lined up, along with a graveyard of old retired Macs). (Via Scoble).
  • Visual Studio Express editions will now be free forever – Good news from Dan Fernandez (via Brad Wilson)
  • ATLAS not working well cross-browser – Review along with screenshots from Leland Scott (via Matthew Magain on Sitepoint, who makes a good point when he says “Unfortunately it’s difficult to take a lot of Scott’s reportage seriously, considering the blatant anti-Microsoft bias that shows through. Still, it’s the screenshots that tell the story…”). I also noticed some inconsistencies when testing out the control pack using Firefox. Still some room to grow…(and ASP.net is still a better development environment for almost all online applications).
  • Google Hosted Email – Derek reviews his experience setting up and using the service
  • Ruby on Rails CMS Breakdown – Benjamin reviews five ROR Content Management System packages
  • Skype Bows to Chinese Censors – And joins the likes of Microsoft, Yahoo and Google. They are taking things a step farther by blocking certain words from appearing in text messages (!)

ASP.net 2.0 Looking Pretty Slick

First a disclaimer: I have never used Visual Studio 2005 (except for an early beta Express edition) nor have I used ASP.net 2.0 (I plan to start in the next couple of days). I have been doing lots of ASP.net programming and application development using the .Net Framework (1.14322), C#, VS 2003 and SQL Server 2000.

That said, I am getting personally excited (in a professional way) about the improved development potential with ASP.net 2.0

A few things that I have seen recently that have influenced my opinion enough to write the previous sentence:

  • Scott Guthrie has posted an account of how MySpace is using ASP.netand how switching to the new platform (fresumably from ColdFusion) affected their performance:
    • They are processiong 1.5 billion page views per day, reaching 2.3 concurrent users
    • After switching to ASP.net 2.0, their server utilization went down from 85% to 27%!

    So if you are considering the platform, you wont have to be concerned about any scaling or performance issues (assuming you know what you are doing). (I wonder how php would compare, with caching and everything else. Would it even be 50% as efficient as pre-compiled code? 30%?)

  • The ATLAS framework has just received a go-live license with its March CTP release. ATLAS is Microsoft’s version of Ajax for ASP.net. It may not be ROR, but if you check out this demonstration video (worth watching for both the ATLAS demo as well as the demonstration of the new improvements to the product that make development go faster) I hope you will agree that it is definitely something worth trying out.
  • For just a quick taste of other features touched by the upgrade (as well as totally new additions), check out some of the webcasts on the ASP.net Developer Center

They may not ship everything on time…but once they get their products out the door, they (often?!) can really shine.

Bitkraft

From the website:

Bitkraft is a CLR based (.NET) web framework that allows distributed web content to be created and served in a unique fashion. It is written in C# and compiles for operation under the Microsoft .NET Framework 1.1+ or the .Mono Framework, making it portable to almost any platform.

At it’s core, the Bitkraft framework extends the ASP .NET Architecture to fully support Javascript-based Server callbacks using the XmlHttpRequest object as a transport layer in a fashion referred commonly today as AJAX (Asynchronous Javascript Over XmlHttpRequest). There are many “AJAX” frameworks available today however, the Bitkraft framework is unique in the way that it seeks to blur the lines between client (browser) and server and the manner that it allows the development of truly Smart Web-Based applications that intelligently distribute their functionality between Client and Server in a seamless manner.

Looks like a very cool method for implementing asynchronous client-server web development.