Building Virtual Earth applications just keeps getting easier

I’ve given a number of presentations on Virtual Earth development over the last couple years.  The first thing ASP.NET WebForms developers say to me is how bummed they are that they have to write JavaScript.  That’s understandable.  ASP.NET WebForms developers have come to expect server controls to do most of the heavy lifting for them.  ASP.NET AJAX introduced the UpdatePanel control which allows you to AJAX enable your applications without having to write a single line of JavaScript.  Yesterday, as part of the latest Windows Live™ Tools for Microsoft® Visual Studio® 2008 CTP, a new Virtual Earth ASP.NET control was released.  This is a sweet control that makes integrating Virtual Earth into your ASP.NET applications a easy as drag, drop, set some properties, and wire up some server side code.  The new control, which is built on top of ASP.NET AJAX, does all the heavy lifting you’ve come to expect from ASP.NET AJAX enabled controls.  ASP.NET AJAX also introduced the concept of control extenders.  Extenders allow you to add AJAX functionality to existing server controls.  The Virtual Earth ASP.NE T control ships with a ton of extenders that allow you to interact with the map without writing any code.  I had the luxury of getting early access to the bits.  I’ve taken the control for a thorough test drive.  I think ASP.NET developers are going to love this thing!  Chomping at the bit?  Have a look at to get an overview of the control, watch a video of how it works, and download the CTP.

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