Like most developers, I love finding tools that do my work for me and make me look good. And, like most developers, I am extremely wary of adding too much outside crap to a project which can make maintaining it a nightmare. You may end up not only maintaining your own code but someone else's code, or worse, not being able to update the project because a third-party control won't let you.
The Ajax Toolkit has some great stuff that is very easy to use. It's from Microsoft so you can be pretty comfortable adding it to a project. Drag and Drop and off you go. But often things don't work out exactly as you would like. Deploying and debugging are not always easy.
A viable alternative to the Ajax Toolkit is the jQuery UI.
I was happy to see on the jQuery web site they have their own UI controls.very happy. If you are already using jQuery, you don't feel as if you are adding a third party component. And, it seems, Microsoft has 'adopted' jQuery.
Here's their website: http://jqueryui.com/. It's also reachable from http://jquery.com/
I decided to try out the DatePicker control, since picking a date is one of the most useful and common tasks a control can do.
Downloading and installing the jQuery UI was no more difficult than downloading and installing jQuery itself. The download is customizable; you pick which components you want and which visual theme you want.
In the do
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