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Just about every book or article I've read about Atlas has given me a headache. They seem to have two messages in common: (1) all my server-side ASP.NET applications are now obsolete, and (2) the only way to fix them is to add really complicated JavaScript. Woe is me.
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These books and articles (which shall remain nameless because lawyers are so expensive these days) all seem to imply that to be a real Atlas programmer, I should stop hiding behind black-box controls and understand Ajax and JavaScript and, for good measure, XMLHTTPRequest objects! It's like a nightmare flashback to 1985 when, to be a real C programmer, you really needed to understand Assembler so that when things went wrong, you could drop down into the snap-shot debugger to see what was in the registers. (Haven't done that for a while, and I don't really miss it much.)

No! I won't have it. The move up the ladder of abstraction is a good thing. We were right when we said that by using a higher level of abstraction, we can better focus on the problem domain, leaving the "plumbing" to well-tested controls provided by Microsoft and other vendors. I'll be damned if I want to slip back into writing type-unsafe non-object-oriented JavaScript. Twenty years of progress up in smoke, down the drain, and out the door. Feh. (Feh is Yiddish for Yuck.)

Fortunately, it is a chimera, appearing on the horizon through the fractured lens of an early adopter's telescope. The script-centric approach is an artifact of pre-release technology being explored by those who know the underlying foundation of JavaScript best. When Ajax started to get very hot, the first ones to write about it were, naturally enough, JavaScript aficionados. They were the ones who could create JavaScript client-side code that made an appreciable difference in the user experience.

Atlas expertise has become equated with script expertise; a false identity needs to be exposed and broken as quickly as possible. When Programming ASP.NET,4th Edition is released, we will have a great deal of Atlas, but very little JavaScript. I feel very strongly that application programmers should focus on applications, and controls programmers should focus on building nicely encapsulated controls (no user servable parts, opening black box may void warranty).

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