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ASP.NET 2.0 - New Features

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ASP.NET 2.0 improves ASP.NET by adding several new features.

Improvements in ASP.NET 2.0

ASP.NET 2.0 was designed to make web development easier and quicker.

Design goals for ASP.NET 2.0:

  • Increase productivity by removing 70% of the code
  • Use the same controls for all types of devices
  • Provide a faster and better web server platform
  • Simplify compilation and installation
  • Simplify the administration of web applications

What's New in ASP.NET 2.0?

Some of the new features in ASP.NET 2.0 are:

  • Master Pages, Themes, and Web Parts
  • Standard controls for navigation
  • Standard controls for security
  • Roles, personalization, and internationalization services
  • Improved and simplified data access controls
  • Full support for XML standards like, XHTML, XML, and WSDL
  • Improved compilation and deployment (installation)
  • Improved site management
  • New and improved development tools

The new features are described below.

Master Pages

ASP.NET didn't have a method for applying a consistent look and feel for a whole web site.

Master pages in ASP.NET 2.0 solves this problem.

A master page is a template for other pages, with shared layout and functionality. The master page defines placeholders for content pages. The result page is a combination (merge) of the master page and the content page.

Read more about master pages.


Themes is another feature of ASP.NET 2.0. Themes, or skins, allow developers to create a customized look for web applications.

Design goals for ASP.NET 2.0 themes:

  • Make it simple to customize the appearance of a site
  • Allow themes to be applied to controls, pages, and entire sites
  • Allow all visual elements to be customized

Web Parts

ASP.NET 2.0 Web Parts can provide a consistent look for a site, while still allowing user customization of style and content.

New controls:

  • Zone controls - areas on a page where the content is consistent
  • Web part controls - content areas for each zone


ASP.NET 2.0 has built-in navigation controls like

  • Site Maps
  • Dynamic HTML menus
  • Tree Views  


Security is very important for protecting confidential and personal information.

In ASP.NET 2.0 the following controls has been added:

  • A Login control, which provides login functionality
  • A LoginStatus control, to control the login status
  • A LoginName control to display the current user name
  • A LoginView control, to provide different views depending on login status
  • A CreateUser wizard, to allow creation of user accounts
  • A PasswordRecovery control, to provide the "I forgot my password" functionality

Roles and Personalization

Internet communities are growing very popular.

ASP.NET 2.0 has personalization features for storing user details. This provides an easy way to customize user (and user group) properties.


Reaching people with different languages is important if you want to reach a larger audience.

ASP.NET 2.0 has improved support for multiple languages.

Data Access

Many web sites are data driven, using databases or XML files as data sources.

With ASP.NET this involved code, and often the same code had to be used over and over in different web pages.

A key goal of ASP.NET 2.0 was to ease the use of data sources.

ASP.NET 2.0 has new data controls, removing much of the need for programming and in-depth knowledge of data connections.

Mobility Support

The problem with Mobile devices is screen size and display capabilities.

In ASP.NET, the Microsoft Mobile Internet Toolkit (MMIT) provided this support.

In ASP.NET 2.0, MMIT is no longer needed because mobile support is built into all controls.


ASP.NET 2.0 has new controls for handling images:

  • The ImageMap control - image map support
  • The DynamicImage control  - image support for different browsers

These controls are important for better image display on mobile devices, like hand-held computers and cell phones.

Automatic Compilation

ASP.NET 2.0 provides automatic compilation. All files within a directory will be compiled on the first run, including support for WSDL, and XSD files.

Compiled Deployment (Installation) and Source Protection

ASP.NET 2.0 also provides pre-compilation. An entire web site can be pre-compiled. This provides an easy way to deploy (upload to a server) compiled applications, and because only compiled files are deployed, the source code is protected.

Site Management

ASP.NET 2.0 has three new features for web site configuration and management:

  • New local management console
  • New programmable management functions (API)
  • New web-based management tool

Development Tools

With ASP.NET Visual Studio.NET was released with project and design features targeted at corporate developers.

With ASP.NET 2.0, Visual Studio 2005 was released.

Key design features for Visual Studio 2005 include:

  • Support for the features described above
  • Upload files from anywhere (FTP, File System, Front Page....)
  • No project files, allowing code to be manipulated outside Visual Studio
  • Integrated Web Site Administration Tool
  • No "build" step - ability to compile on first run

Visual Web Developer is a new free ASP.NET 2.0 tool for non-corporate developers who don't have access to Visual Studio.NET.

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