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ASP.NET is a stable and mature platform for building rich and powerful Web applications, so it's hard to imagine a new set of compelling features being added to it. But last fall, with the release of Service Pack 1 for ASP.NET 3.5, Microsoft refined the platform's built-in AJAX support and enhanced its productivity by shipping Dynamic Data controls, a new framework of components specifically designed to address the needs of data-driven and data-entry applications.

In parallel, Microsoft developed a brand-new, alternative programming model called ASP.NET MVC. Unlike the classic Web Forms model, ASP.NET MVC helps developers create Web applications in accordance with a widely recognized design pattern: the Model View Controller.
Today, the overall ASP.NET platform is made up of a few distinct components: Web Forms, ASP.NET MVC, Dynamic Data controls and ASP.NET AJAX. The upcoming ASP.NET 4.0 platform has the same foundation as the latest 3.5 SP1 version, but it provides further refinement in the areas of Web Forms, Dynamic Data controls and, last but not least, ASP.NET AJAX.

In this article, I'll take a look at what's new and improved in the Web Forms model. In future columns, I'll address the Dynamic Data control platform as a whole and explore in-depth the developments in the ASP.NET AJAX environment.

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