The web portal you’ll learn how to build is an N-tier application with a user interface (UI) layer, a business layer, and a data access layer.You’ll use ASP.NET AJAX to implement the UI layer of the web portal application,which includes the homepage and the widget’s UI.

ASP.NET AJAX provides the framework (via UpdatePanel) for updating widgets without doing any postbacks, and it changes page layout by dragging and dropping widgets on the page.It also offers a rich collection of Control Extenders that add cool effects like fade in/fade out, smooth transitions, and clientside animations.

You can add to the rich client-side experience by providing autocompletion behavior on text boxes,asynchronous data loading via web service calls,client-side paging, sorting,and much more.

The ASP.NET AJAX runtime provides a framework you can use to make XML HTTP calls from within the widgets.It also provides the framework for building client-side effects using Custom Extenders.The drag-and-drop behavior of widgets on the page is built as an Extender. You’ll also reuse some extenders from the Ajax Control Toolkit (ACT)to enrich the client user experience within the widgets.

ASP.NET AJAX exposes a handy API that you can use to authenticate against the ASP.NET Membership application service. A good thing about the ASP.NET Membership API is that it’s fully compatible with ASP.NET AJAX and providers for Membership, Profile properties,and so on;they all work exactly the same way as a regular ASP.NET web site.

This means you can make client-side login and signup forms,and change user preferences without requiring any postback.

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