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ASP.NET to Add Support for LESS and CoffeeScript

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The ASP.NET roadmap has been updated with their post-VS 2012 plans. The next set of features will focus on OData functionality and new/updated templates for MVC. The biggest change is to the Single Page Applications template, which is dropping support for Upshot.js and Web API-based DataController.

Instead of devoting resources to that experiment, Microsoft is instead focusing on these tools and technologies:

  • LESS: An extension to CSS that supports dynamic behavior
  • CoffeeScript: A language that compiles into JavaScript
  • Knockout.js: MVVM Framework for JavaScript
  • Mustache: Declarative data templating
  • HandleBars: Semantic template engine, compatible with Mustache templates
  • Paste JSON as Classes

In regards to CoffeScript, Mads Kristensen said that, “We are working on the editor, but not the compiler or debugger”. For the rest of them, the actual level of support is not yet known. One would expect the roadmap to be updated as the plans are fleshed out and resources are fully allocated.

Side note: Upshot.js and its DataController are not necessarily gone. Microsoft may revive the project in the future “if additional libraries are needed to round out the SPA experience”.

The communication framework SignalR will also be getting “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.”

On the security side, the ASP.NET team is looking to add Windows Authentication support for websites running on Windows Azure. This requires Windows Azure Active Directory to be setup.

A lot of polish features are planned for Web API. For operations teams, the more important is actual diagnostics and logging hooks for System.Diagnostics, ETW, NLog, and Log4Net.

For developers without access to WSDL-based code-generated contracts, solid API documentation is of the upmost importance. Web API is addressing this with new Web API help page generation features.

Web API help page generation will make it easy to generate rich, web-based documentation for your web APIs including the resource URIs, the allowed HTTP methods, expected parameters, and sample message payloads.

And last but not least, OData is getting a new URI parser. “Developers will be able to control OData query semantics. OData endpoints can be implemented over any data source using the new OData formatter, metadata controller, and modeling capabilities.”

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