I will show you how I built a start page similar to Google IG in 7 nights using ASP.NET Ajax, .NET 3.0, Linq, DLinq and XLinq. I have logged my day to day development experience in this article and documented all the technical challenges, interesting discoveries and important design & architectural decisions. You will find the implementation quite close to actual Google IG. It has drag & drop enabled widgets, complete personalization of the pages, multi page feature and so on. It's not just a prototype or a sample project. It's a real living and breathing open source start page running at http://dropthings.omaralzabir.com/ which you can use everyday. You are welcome to participate in the development and make widgets for the project.
- Jan 6, 2007: Scott Guthrie showed me how to improve ASP.NET Ajax client side performance by switching to debug="false" in web.config. It improves performance significantly. Read here.
- Jan 5, 2007: Deployment problem discussed. Read here.
- Jan 4, 2007: Visual Studio 2005 Extensions for .NET Framework 3.0 (Windows Workflow Foundation) required as prerequisite. Read here.
- Jan 4, 2007: Some asked me if I am picking a fight with Google. I am not. I respect Google very much because they pioneered in this area and I am just a follower. Start Page is a really good project to show all these new technologies.
What is an Web 2.0 Ajax Start page
Some of the popular Ajax Start Pages are Pageflakes, Live, Google IG, Netvibes, Protopage, Webwag etc. Among these, Google IG is the simplest one. The one I have built here is something between real Google IG and Pageflakes in terms of Ajax and client side richness. Google IG is mostly web 1.0 style postback model and it's not really that much of Ajax. For example, you see it postback on switching page, adding new modules, changing widget properties, etc. But the one I have built here is a lot more Ajax providing rich client side experience close to what you see in Pageflakes.
Build your page by Dragging & Dropping widgets. You can completely personalize the page by putting what you want and where you want. You can add, remove widgets on your page. You can drag & drop them where you like. Close your browser and come back again, you will see the exact setup as you left it. You can use it without registering as long as you like.