Microsoft has released a developer tool formerly code-named Atlas for building web applications based on Ajax (Asynchronous JavaScript and XML).

ASP.Net Ajax 1.0 is an add-on framework to Microsoft's ASP.Net tool that enables developers to build applications that can be altered dynamically on a browser page without calling back to the server.

Microsoft released a community technology preview of ASP.Net Ajax 1.0 in September 2005 at its Professional Developers Conference in Los Angeles and called it Atlas. Yesterday’s announcement marks the first time the tool is being release in its final version.

Ajax is widely becoming the development framework of choice for building next-generation web applications because it allows for faster, more robust applications that are more responsive to user interactions.

ASP.Net Ajax allows developers to create web interfaces with reusable Ajax components. It also lets them use other tools within Microsoft's Visual Studio 2005 toolkit to create websites and access remote services and data directly from web browsers without having to write complicated script, Microsoft said.

More information about the tool can be found on this website.