Reviewing my stats for the year, you might think the only topic I write about is jQuery. Of the posts I’ve written in 2008, 80% of the most popular posts have been jQuery related.

That’s okay with me though. I’m happy to see so many of you embracing jQuery in your ASP.NET applications.

With Microsoft’s surprise announcement that jQuery will be bundled with future versions of Visual Studio, I think the jQuery tangent that ASP.NET developers such as myself, Rick Strahl, and Matt Berseth have explored this year has definitely proven worthwhile.

The most popular posts of 2008

1. Using jQuery to Consume ASP.NET JSON Web Services – This post being the most popular one that I’ve written in 2008 is very encouraging. Judging by the emails I’ve received throughout the year, many of you have drastically improved the performance and usability of your applications by replacing UpdatePanels with web services and jQuery.

2. Boost ASP.NET performance with deferred content loading – I hope that this technique has helped many of you to avoid the fragile UpdatePanel/Timer deferred loading method that some suggest. The gains in performance and usability are worth the extra effort that is required to implement this.

3. Using jQuery to directly call ASP.NET AJAX page methods – This is little more than a follow-up post to the first in this list, but it appears that many of you found it useful. Thanks to Justin Etheredge for posing the question which led to me writing the post.

4. 7 of my favorite jQuery plugins for use with ASP.NET – This is a post that I really didn’t expect to be very popular. I wrote it in a hurry (though it took longer than I anticipated) to fill a gap in my posting schedule. I was pleasantly surprised that so many of you found it useful. Expect a sequel.

5. 3 mistakes to avoid when using jQuery with ASP.NET AJAX – One consequence of #1 and #3 being so popular is that their $.ajax() technique was experimented with across many combinations of browser and server. As a result of this trial by fire, a few potential flaws were discovered.

Thanks to your constructive feedback on those posts, I think we’ve refined this to a best practice for calling web services and page methods that are JSON serialized by the ASP.NET AJAX framework. The necessary changes are detailed in this fifth most popular post of the year.

The one that got away

I do wish that my cautionary post about using UpdatePanels for site navigation would find its way in front of more of the right eyeballs. I wrote the post after finding myself constantly addressing the topic on the ASP.NET forums.

I hoped that the post ranking prominently on Google for relevant queries (which it does) would help to mitigate the number of developers headed down that dead-end path. Sadly, the question continues to appear frequently.

Looking ahead to 2009

Though it has become popular to be fearful of the deteriorating economic situation lately, I remain optimistic about 2009. Even in difficult times, those of us who embrace continued learning and improvement will always be in demand.

If you’re reading this, that probably includes you.

In that spirit, I’ll be announcing a new book contest in January and have several tutorial posts already lined up for 2009. So, stay tuned.

If you haven’t already, consider subscribing to my free updates via RSS or Email.

I hope this finds you all enjoying a safe and happy holiday season. Stay warm!