Microsoft launches CDN for AJAX

The free Microsoft AJAX CDN provides caching for libraries, improving Web site performance

Microsoft's ASP.Net team is offering a free  AJAX CDN (content delivery network) service to cache AJAX libraries and boost Web site performance, a company official said this week.

With the Microsoft AJAX CDN, performance can be significantly improved for ASP.Net Web Forms and ASP.Net MVC applications using ASP.Net AJAX or jQuery libraries, said Scott Guthrie, corporate vice president of the Microsoft Developer Division, in a blog entry.

[ Earlier this month, Microsoft released the Doloto tool to boost AJAX page response. ]

The CDN service is free for both commercial and non-commercial uses.  A CDN improves performance by enabling browsers to "more quickly retrieve and download content," Guthrie said.

"For example, instead of having a browser request for an image traverse all the way across the Internet to your Web server to download, a CDN can instead serve the request directly from a nearby 'edge cache' server that might only be a single network hop away from your customer, making it return much faster -- which makes your pages load quicker," he said. CDNs are composed of edge cache servers placed at key Internet network points, Guthrie said.

Microsoft will update libraries in the CDN as it ships new versions of ASP.Net AJAX.

Microsoft also has recently released ASP.Net AJAX Preview 5. ASP.Net AJAX is a client-side JavaScript library for building AJAX applications to work with modern Web browsers.  The technology features client templates that can be used to format database data in a browser; client controls; ADO.Net Data Services support and Windows Communication Foundation backing.

Preview 5 improves the client-side data story. New features include dynamic and recursive templates, binding converters and compatibility with the ASP.Net UpdatePanel.

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