But what I really want to talk about is the new ASP.NET MVC & jQuery and how this will be the standard way of building sites on the ASP.NET framework. I know its a bold disclaimer, but I fully believe it after using both on a couple of projects and coming away thinking.... why wasn't it always this fun to build sites in Dot Net!
To begin with the MVC part stands for Model-View-Controller. This is a very old concept dating back to 1979 which was described by Trygve Reenskaug, then working on Smalltalk at Xerox PARC(..I'm always surprised at the amount of ground breaking technology that went on at Xerox back than.).
In MVC, the model represents the information (the data) of the application; the view corresponds to elements of the user interface such as text, checkbox items, and so forth; and the controller manages the communication of data and the business rules used to manipulate the data to and from the model.
You gain a lot by separating your website out like this. It makes it super easy to run Unit Tests against all 3 levels. You also lose the ViewState dead weight. No more limitation on just 1 form and the post back model goes right out the door. Now the down side is most server controls that use ViewState will not work. But MVC makes up for this with HtmlHelpers. Plus you get really nice looking REST like urls. Like so http://stackoverflow.com/questions/tagged/asp.net-mvc. Notice you don't see the ".aspx" ext or any extensions. You may think "who cares, so your url looks pretty". Yeah I thought the same thing also, but what makes this important is the url is self describing. It now has meaning and that meaning can be parsed and indexed by the all mighty GOOGLE search engine. You know what that means. Better search indexes, higher ranking and more eye balls finding your site!!
These nice urls are pointers to actions in your controller.
This is where jQuery comes in handy.
jQuery selectors are a combination of CSS 1-3 & XPath. Essentially, the best parts from both of these query languages were taken, combined, and used to create the final jQuery expression language.
What really makes jQuery shine is the fact that its very extensible. There are 100s of plug-ins on the site. From form valadation plugin-ins, auto-complete controls with ajax to a full Grid control with built in search using local or remote data, column resizing and ording.
jQuery was so powerful that Microsoft decided to include it with its ASP.NET MVC Beta release.
Just imagine the possibilities. I know its a different way of thinking and building a site from a .NET view. But this is the way all major web platforms are built. Ruby on Rails, PHP, Java..etc. It makes sense for the web and makes development life a lot easier.
If you want some tutorials on some of the topics I talked about ScottGu's Blog has some really nice posts that get into the details of ASP.NET MVC.
jQuery's site has a lot of nice documentation on what jQuery is and how it works.