ASP » Introduction

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Welcome to the DevGuru Built-in ASP Objects Quick Reference guide. This is a valuable 85 page reference source that explains and provides comprehensive, working examples of code for all of the collections, events, methods, and properties belonging to the seven Built-in Active Server Pages objects.

In the good old days (a few years ago!), most Web sites were created with HTML and simply displayed static pages. A few of the more adventurous programmers would use C or Perl to design a dynamic Web site utilizing the CGI technology. However, these techniques were plagued with security concerns and did not scale well to large sites. So, in general, dynamic sites remained relatively few in number and were time consuming and expensive to create. The introduction of the scripting languages, which could be embedded inside HTML code, opened new doors for dynamic site development. Active Server Pages (ASP), which managed to arrive just in time for the explosive growth of the World Wide Web, was a next logical step for Web-based application development. Introduced in 1996 by Microsoft, Active Server Pages proved to be an exciting, new technology that extended standard HTML by adding built-in objects, server-side scripts, access to databases, and ActiveX components. Another important development by Microsoft was to make the ASP scripting environment compliant with the Component Object Model (COM). COM created a standard communication mechanism between components. This step allowed non-vendor components, such as those offered by DevGuru, to share their properties, methods and events with other components in a process called OLE automation. Non-vendor components greatly extend the functionality of ASP applications.

The true power of ASP is the ease and rapidity with which developers can create and implement dynamic Web sites. Indeed, for today's modern Web commerce, a dynamic, database-driven, server-side application that interacts with the client is the norm.

ASP employs a scripting environment and VBScript is the default scripting language of choice. However, you can use other languages (such as JScript and Perl) as long as they have a scripting engine that is compatible with the ActiveX scripting standard.

Fortunately, you are not limited to just using Active Server Pages with Microsoft's Internet Information Server (IIS) and this has enhanced the popularity of ASP. For example, Chili!Soft is a proven industry leader in providing ASP engines for use with Web servers from FastTrack, Lotus, Netscape, O'Reilly, and many others. And Halcyon Software offers a brilliant Java-based implementation of the Microsoft ASP framework, allowing developers to deploy ASP applications on any platform.

Meanwhile, ASP continues to evolve. With the arrival of the millennium came the arrival of ASP version 3.0. Version 3.0 was released along with Internet Information Server (IIS) version 5.0 as part of the highly anticipated Microsoft Windows 2000. By far, the most important new feature of version 3.0 is the addition of a seventh, intrinsic object called ASPError which should greatly simplify error handling. Other new features include the addition of three new methods to the Server object, and two new methods to both the Application object and the Session object.

Active Server Pages has ultimately proven to be of significant value to developers and fueled a revolution in the development of Web-based applications.