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What Is ASP?

Active Server Pages or ASP, as it is more commonly known, is a technology that enables you to make dynamic and interactive web pages. It is marketed as an add-on to Internet Information Services (IIS). Programming ASP websites is made easier by various built-in objects. Each object corresponds to a group of frequently-used functionality useful for creating dynamic web pages. In ASP 2.0 there are six such built-in objects: Application, ASPError, Request, Response, Server, and Session. Session, for example, is a cookie-based session object that maintains variables from page to page.

ASP uses server-side scripting to dynamically produce web pages that are not affected by the type of browser the web site visitor is using. The default scripting language used for writing ASP is VBScript, although you can use other scripting languages like JScript (Microsoft's version of JavaScript).

ASP pages have the extension .asp instead of .htm, when a page with the extension .asp is requested by a browser the web server knows to interpret any ASP contained within the web page before sending the HTML produced to the browser. This way all the ASP is run on the web server and no ASP will ever be passed to the web browser. Any web pages containing ASP cannot be run by just simply opening the page in a web browser. The page must be requested through a web server that supports ASP, this is why ASP stands for Active Server Pages, no server, and no active pages.

ASP has gone through six major releases:

  • ASP version 1.0 (distributed with IIS 3.0) in December 1996.
  • ASP version 2.0 (distributed with IIS 4.0) in September 1997.
  • ASP version 3.0 (distributed with IIS 5.0) in November 2000.
  • ASP.NET version 1.0 (part of the Microsoft .NET platform) in January 2002.
    (The pre-.NET versions are currently referred to as "classic" ASP)
  • ASP.NET version 1.1 in April 2003.
  • ASP.NET version 2.0 (released on November 7, 2005).

ASP.NET was originally called "ASP+" or "ASP PLUS" before the .NET name was introduced.
Several scripting languages may be used in ASP. However, the default scripting language (in classic ASP) is VBScript: 1. 2. 3. <% Response.Write("Hello World!") %> 4. 5. For those of you running other operating systems or web servers Sun produce a product called Chili!Soft ASP which enables ASP to be used on other web servers including, Apache, I-Planet, Zeus, Red Hat Secure Server, etc, using various operating systems including, Linux, Solaris, HP-UX, AIX, etc. You can find out more information on Sun Chili!Soft ASP or download a trial version from: Sun Chili!Soft


The Wikipedia entry:

ASP.NET is a set of web development technologies marketed by Microsoft. Programmers can use it to build dynamic web sites, web applications and XML web services. It is part of Microsoft's .NET platform and is the successor to Microsoft's Active Server Pages technology."
Even though ASP.NET takes its name from Microsoft's old web development technology, ASP (Active Server Pages), the two differ significantly. Microsoft has completely rebuilt ASP.NET, based on the CLR shared by all Microsoft .NET applications. Programmers can write ASP.NET code using any of the different programming languages supported by the .NET framework, usually (proprietary) Visual Basic.NET, JScript .NET, or (standardized) C#, but also including open-source languages such as Perl and Python. ASP.NET is faster because the entire web site is precompiled to one or a few dll files on a Web Server and the Web Site runs faster compared to the previous scripting technology.

ASP.NET attempts to simplify developers' transition from Windows application development to web development by allowing them to build pages composed of controls similar to a Windows user interface. A web control, such as a button or label, functions in very much the same way as its Windows counterpart: code can assign its properties and respond to its events. Controls know how to render themselves: whereas Windows controls draw themselves to the screen, web controls produce segments of HTML which form part of the resulting page sent to the end-user's browser.

ASP.NET encourages the programmer to develop applications using an event-driven GUI paradigm, rather than in the conventional web scripting fashion. The framework attempts to combine existing technologies such as JavaScript with internal components like "Viewstate" to bring persistent (inter-request) state to the inherently stateless web environment.
The numerous .NET controls, classes and tools can cut down on development time by providing a rich set of features for common programming tasks. Data access provides one example, and comes tightly coupled with ASP.NET. A developer can make a page to display a list of records in a database, for example, significantly more readily using ASP.NET than with ASP.

(Resources for this article by and Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)


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