Volta, alternative to XAML and Google Webmaster Toolkit

The success of GWT, the Google Web Toolkit, which allows for a portable Web applications in Java, prompted Microsoft to provide an alternative under. Net, which is Volta. A trial version is now available for download at Microsoft Live Labs.
It is a tool complete with IDE (Integrated Development Environment), runtime and compiler.

Update December 2010. All links to Volta are broken. No more news of this technology from Microsoft.

Why Volta?

The goal is in portability. Volta produces a standard code running on different browsers. But more than that, there is the possibility of choice to run the code on the server or on the client side. The interactions are managed by the framework, to making rich Web applications, similar to desktop software made easy.
Volta thanks to its portability provides an abstraction layer to devote resources to nearby business. The application level will benefit from the framework by a simplified access to the system.

How it works

As GWT, it is a compiler that generates HTML and JavaScript code, but also a runtime server side which manages interactions with the browser.
The application works from the MSIL intermediate code, generated itself from sources in different languages under .Net.
It is a recompiler who performs refactoring on different media, client or server side. At server side, the CLR (Common Language Runtime) executes a part of the code while the browser is running client side the JavaScript code. The part generated for the client is based on Web standards: Ajax, JSON.

Volta should be provided as an extension to Visual Studio, and may even be included as part of the standard .

Volta or Google Web Toolkit?

GWT is coded in Java while, based. upon Net, Volta can use different languages brought under the platform, including easy to use scripting languages.
One can with Volta have the choice to lighten the work on the server or on the contrary increase it when the client has no power enough to handle it.
But the choice of the execution takes place after the compilation of the source code, which gives great flexibility to the system.
It should be noted that GWT is a framework used in production and experienced by many companies while Volta is so far experimental and provided as a demonstration.

Volta and Silverlight

Although the basic purpose is similar and to build Web applications, Volta differs from Silverlight markedly in the way we develop applications and in software provided.
The programmer in Silverlight 1.0 operates directly on HTML, JavaScript and XAML, while programming for Volta is close to desktop development.
This difference is partly reduced with Silverlight 2.0 which allows the use of other .Net languages.

Limitations of Volta

On the client side, can be implemented only classes without inheritance. Making new applications should be simple, but bringing existing applications on the client side much more difficult. Multi-thread is not supported by the library.

The current demonstrations are not conclusive: slow and big size of files. This is just a version under development.

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