My first book – Building a Web 2.0 Portal with ASP.NET 3.5

My first book “Building a Web 2.0 Portal with ASP.NET 3.5” from
O’Reilly is published and available in the stores. This book
explains in detail the architecture design, development, test,
deployment, performance and scalability challenges of my open
source web portal Dropthings is a prototype of a web
portal similar to iGoogle or Pageflakes. But this portal is developed using
recently released brand new technologies like ASP.NET 3.5, C# 3.0,
Linq to Sql, Linq to XML, and Windows Workflow foundation. It makes
heavy use of ASP.NET AJAX 1.0. Throughout my career I have built
several state-of-the-art personal, educational, enterprise and mass consumer web
. This book collects my experience in building all of
those portals.

O’Reilly Website:


Disclaimer: This book does not show you how to build Pageflakes.
Dropthings is entirely different in terms of architecture,
implementation and the technologies involved.

You learn how to:

  • Implement a highly decoupled architecture following the popular
    n-tier, widget-based application model
  • Provide drag-and-drop functionality, and use ASP.NET 3.5 to
    build the server-side part of the web layer
  • Use LINQ to build the data access layer, and Windows Workflow
    Foundation to build the business layer as a collection of
  • Build client-side widgets using JavaScript for faster
    performance and better caching
  • Get maximum performance out of the ASP.NET AJAX Framework for
    faster, more dynamic, and scalable sites
  • Build a custom web service call handler to overcome
    shortcomings in ASP.NET AJAX 1.0 for asynchronous, transactional,
    cache-friendly web services
  • Overcome JavaScript performance problems, and help the user
    interface load faster and be more responsive
  • Solve various scalability and security problems as your site
    grows from hundreds to millions of users
  • Deploy and run a high-volume production site while solving
    software, hardware, hosting, and Internet infrastructure

If you’re ready to build state-of-the art, high-volume web
applications that can withstand millions of hits per day, this book
has exactly what you need.

20 thoughts on “My first book – Building a Web 2.0 Portal with ASP.NET 3.5”

  1. Hello Omar,

    I have asked one question before but I haven't seen it publishing in this blog. Please don't think otherwise, I am not trying to defame you. While asking that question I am really truthful to myself. Please answer those questions. If you think it is not publishable then please reply to supremestar at gmail dot com.

    Thanks & Regards

  2. Hi Omar,

    Congrats with your book, I enjoy it A LOT, learn so much from it. It is quite advanced but the explanation is very good.

    I also asked a question about a week ago, did you receive it? It is not listed here.

    Do you think the approach in your book can somehow be used in ASP.NET MVC? And do you have any ideas on using jQuery for enriching / creating widgets?

  3. Omar

    A very thought provoking book! I've enjoyed reading about your Web 2.0 Portal ideas and like that you capitalized on the new technologies of LINQ and Workflow.

    I do have some other ideas regarding how I'd like to use a web portal to deliver web applications to the user community. I've started a blog at

    I'm in the process of modifying the DropThings solution to implement the idea of allowing an administrator of a web site to use your drag/drop, widget, etc. design to build the interface the user will see. At the point when the administrator is happy with the content the modified portal will let them “lock it down” so the user population will not have those same capabilities.

  4. Omar,

    Very useful book which is not very thick at the same time 🙂 Just wondering whether existing code may by used in quite different way. I need actually correlation between widgets/windows/web parts whatever is called, when selecting something in one widget causes refresh in others either immediately or via certain interface element ; or to avoid slown refresh maybe the set of links is refreshed and click on each link will show a related widget ; plus possibility of zooming for currently selected window/widget. Or it violates the idea of independent web parts and something else should be used.

  5. Hey Omar,

    Great work you've done, do you know there's already a translation to That would be great, im not that familiar with c#.

    If yes please let me know the URL …

  6. Hello Omar,

    Congratulations on your book. Let me lend my voice to the request for VB content. I plan on building a couple of portals and was just about to order your book, when I saw that it was only in C#. I would happily still buy it, if there exists VB equivalents of the code online.

  7. Omar,

    Thanks for your contribution to everyone's understanding. I haven't received my copy of your book, but it's on the way! I'm looking forward to digging in to it.

    Looking at the DropThings source, I have one question. If you have addressed it in the book, I apologize for asking directly when I will see the answer there, but I think your response will be enlightening for myself and for others:

    Why have you created your own custom implementation of widgets instead of using the ASP.NET webpart framework?

    Again, thank you for your work and for helping out the community as you have done and continue to do.

  8. I know u far a long time. u r such a ginius who can go anywhere upto the top. I will have to buy one copy for my .Net development career in australia.

  9. Hi Omar,

    Great book!! really helpful. Is there a reason why you did not use the 2.0 WebParts?

  10. I belief we bangladeshi young generation can change the future of our nation by the inspiration of your glorious hard work.

    We are getting can-do attitude through the smartness you have shown.

    Btw, I am sorry to say that our valueable book is being pirated.Please send a line if you want to stop that source.



    New York


  11. Billiant book, Omar. I've been a web developer for over 10 years and it explained with clear examples all the latest .NET 3.5, ASP.NET and AJAX technologies that I'm trying to come up to speed on. Thank you.

  12. This is me next challenge. Starting with your book tonight. This is going to be exciting. Good stuff Omar.

  13. Hi Omar, good work, but i have a question, Why has built the bussiness logic with WF?, What is the advantage??

    Thanks you


    Greetings from Peru

  14. Man, This is superb, I dont have much knowledge about this area as I am more into Routing, but you have made history!! keep going. I wonder why you are not called in Local Tv channels and enlightened your lights to let the people know about your remarkable achievements.

  15. I've read your book, awesome! But I have a problem with this part: “Rendering Page Parts As JavaScript”, it doesnt work! I wonder if you can show me the full code of this part, thx in advandce!

  16. Hi. I have the same question asked by trifonius on 02/20/2008. If one wants to build an ASP.NET MVC web application, are there things about Dropthings that are applicable to ASP.NET MVC? What from Dropthings could be used? Can ASP.NET MVC host widgets?

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