The first big release of 2008 (not counting Sitefinity, of course) is just around the corner, and marking its impending arrival is today's RadControls for ASP.NET AJAX (formerly "Prometheus") Futures release. The Futures release can be thought of as the beta version of the controls that will ship for ASP.NET AJAX in Q1. We use the term "Futures" to differentiate from the "beta" tag that has been on the Prometheus suite for the last year. In either case, the Futures release that dropped today is your first chance to start playing with the bits that will officially drop in mid-April. Included in today's build are:
- New ASP.NET AJAX versions of RadTabstrip, RadToolbar, and RadPanelbar
- New RadFormDecorator control (based on Skinnable Forms CTP)
- RadGrid with tons of new features (many which I've already talked about)
- RadEditor with some cool new features (I'll cover these later)
- RadChart with new Ajax features (covered here)
- RadScheduler with new grouping features
On a cautionary note, you will need to watch out for a few API changes in the new Prometheus controls that will break with your older implementations. For starters, I believe the new RadToolbar and RadPanelbar have new APIs that are not compatible with the old ASP.NET versions of the controls. The changes have been introduced to ensure the best possible development experience and product performance in the future. Also, a little more serious, the RadSplitter "Prometheus" API will introduce some back-compat breaking changes in Q1. The RadSplitter has been totally refactored to improve performance, and that required a few breaking changes.
We know breaking changes are painful and that every developer hates them. I hate them, too. We try to avoid them at all costs and only introduce them when the long term performance/productivity gains can be achieved no other way. Start playing with the Futures release today, though, and see for yourself how our next generation suite for ASP.NET is once again raising the bar for ASP.NET UI components!