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ASP : Active Server Pages web development


ASP or classical asp is Microsoft’s technology for making dynamic websites. ASP stands for active server pages. Asp code is directly embedded inside an html page. It is almost similar to PHP and JSP – Java Server Pages. The web pages written in asp have .asp extension instead of .html and are parsed by a server. ASP is used to build powerful websites and web applications. The web server used to serve ASP pages is the powerful IIS – Internet Information Services. ASP is not cross platform and can only be run on Microsoft based platform. After Asp, The latest addition to Microsoft’s server side technology is ASP.Net which is very powerful and supports multiple styles of website development.

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ASP stands for Active Server Pages. Active Server Pages were introduces by Microsoft in 1996. An Active Server Page allows code written in JavaScript or in VBScript language to be embedded within HTML page and executed on web server. As code is executed on web server only HTML tags are sent to the browser. As a result the ASP code is invisible to the end user.

To understand the concept of Active Server Page let us consider an example of VBScript to display a message in browser window. During the creation of Active Server Page the server side script can be identified in one of the following two ways. 1. Use the server side scripting block identifiers. 2. Use the SCRIPT tag with the RUNAT=”SERVER” attribute. Functionally both of these give the same result but its important to notice that the latter is the only one allowed in ASP>NET. Consider a simple example of ASP code to display the current time in the browser window.

Before creating Active Server Pages there is need of a web server that supports Active Server Pages. The best server will be Microsoft’s Internet Information Service (IIS) version 3.0 or higher version.

ASP objects:

When writing ASP scripts a special set of ASP objects are available within the VBScript language to assist in the programming process. These objects give access to application program interface (API) that allows to manipulate the document displayed in the browser. Each of these objects has the following:

Properties: set or read information about the object. Methods: execute an action on an object> Collections: contain items related to the object.

Microsoft officially defines ASP as: Active Server Page is an open compile free application environment in which you can combine HTML, scripts and reusable Active X server components to create dynamic and powerful web based business solution. Active Server Page enables server side scripting for IIS with native support for both VBScript and JScript. In other words ASP is a Microsoft technology that enables you to create dynamic web sites with the help of server side script such as VBScript and JScript. ASP technology is supported on all Microsoft web servers that are freely available. If you have Windows NT 4.0 server installed you can download IIS 3.0 of 4.0 or higher version.

ASP files:

An ASP file is quite like an HTML file. It contains text, HTML tags and scripts which are executed on the server. The two widely used scripting languages for ASP are VBScript and JavaScript. VBScript is pretty much like Visual Basic, where as JScript is the Microsoft’s version of JavaScript. However VBScript is the default scripting language for ASP. Besides these two languages one can use other scripting languages with ASP as an ActiveX scripting engine for the language installed such as Perl script. The difference between an HTML file and ASP file is that an ASP file has the “asp” extension. Furthermore script delimiters for HTML tags and ASP code are also different. A script delimiter is a character that makes the starting and ending of a unit. HTML tags begin with and greater than brackets. Whereas ASP script typically starts with. In between the delimiters are the server side scripts.

Advantages of ASP:

Dynamic web page:

As ASP supports scripting languages which run on the server, the web page can be dynamically created. For example, one can create web page so as to greeting each user when they log into their page differently.

Browser independent:

ASP is browser independent because all the scripting code runs on the server. The browser only gets the result from the server in a standard HTML page.

Database access:

One of the greatest assets of ASP is database connectivity. ASP enables you to easily build rich database functionality into your website such as form processing.