With ASP.NET AJAX, developers can quickly create pages with sophisticated, responsive user interfaces and more efficient client-server communication by simply adding a few server controls to their pages. Previously an extension to the ASP.NET runtime, ASP.NET AJAX is now built into the platform and makes the complicated task of building cross-platform, standards based AJAX applications easy.
New ListView and DataPager Controls
The new ListView control gives you unprecedented flexibility in how you display your data, by allowing you to have complete control over the HTML markup generated. ListView‘s template approach to representing data is designed to easily work with CSS styles, which comes in handy with the new Visual Studio 2008 designer view. In addition, you can use the DataPager control to handle all the work of allowing your users to page through large numbers of records.
LINQ and other .NET Framework 3.5 Improvements
With the addition of Language Integrated Query (LINQ) in .NET Framework 3.5, the process of building SQL queries using error-prone string manipulation is a thing of the past. LINQ makes your relational data queries a first-class language construct in C# and Visual Basic, complete with compiler and Intellisense support. For Web applications, the ASP.NET LinqDataSource control allows you to easily use LINQ to filter, order and group data that can then be bound to any of the data visualization controls like the ListView and GridView controls. In addition, all the other improvements to .NET Framework 3.5, including the new HashSet collection, DateTime offset support, diagnostics, garbage collection, better thread lock support, and more, are all available to you in your ASP.NET applications.
WCF Support for RSS, JSON, POX and Partial Trust
With .NET Framework 3.5, Windows Communication Foundation (WCF) now supports building Web services that can be exposed using any number of the Internet standard protocols, such as SOAP, RSS, JSON, POX and more. Whether you are building an AJAX application that uses JSON, providing syndication of your data via RSS, or building a standard SOAP Web service, WCF makes it easy to create your endpoints, and now, with .NET Framework 3.5, supports building Web services in partial-trust situations like a typical shared-hosting environment.
New Web Features in Visual Studio 2008
New Web Design Interface
Visual Studio 2008 has incorporated a new Web designer that uses the design engine from Expression Web. Moving between design and source view is faster than ever and the new split view capability means you can edit the HTML source and simultaneously see the results on the page. Support for style sheets in separate files has been added as well as a CSS properties pane which clarifies the sometimes-complex hierarchy of cascading styles, so that it is easy to understand why an element looks the way it does. In addition Visual Studio 2008 has full WYSIWYG support for building and using ASP.NET Nested Master Pages which greatly improves the ability to build a Web site with a consistent look and feel.