ASP : Questions and AnswersJonathan writes
by Steven Salmon
First of all, I'd like to thank you for your papers on the beginners.co.ukIt is impressive and a bit overwhelming for me as a new ASP developer.
Now, turn to my issues. I am a client server developer and I am toinvestigate into ASP development. I am very much confused of what to do,which software to use to develop an ASP database program. Please advise meon the following issues:
- Which software should I use. I heard that the best one is ASP.net, isthat true? Is it easy to use for a new comer like me? Where can I read moreabout it? Is there book about it?
- How Can I run ASP.net? My configuration is 1 client machine running onWin 98. I also have a company laptop of NT 4.0 Server, that contains anoracle 8.0.4 database. What should I do first?
I have so many more questions, and it is overwhelming and confusing on theinstallation of the server side components, IIS4, personal web server, evenbefore trying to install Microsoft Visual Interdev, I was told that it is anofficial MS tool for ASP. It is not easy to use either.
Steven Salmon answers:
Firstly the main focus here is not to get confused between ASP and ASP.Net.ASP.Net is a new improved version of ASP which includes much morefunctionality than the original ASP. ASP.Net is even built from the groundup so Microsoft have addressed some of the limitations of the original ASP2.0 and 3.0.
If you have never programmed in Active Server Pages before and you arejumping straight into ASP.Net, you may find a steeper learning curve. Don'tget me wrong, ASP.Net is an excellent language to learn and use but Istrongly believe that using the original ASP would not go a miss. Bylearning ASP opposed to ASP.Net initially, you are not wasting your timebecause Microsoft have recognised the need to allow you to run ASP pages bythe side of ASP.Net. This is why the new file extension for ASP.Net is .ASPXas opposed to .ASP for the traditional Active Server Pages.
So the simple understanding at this stage is that ASP.Net can be installedon the same computer running the traditional ASP components.
As a general overview, ASP.Net or ASP is not a software application. It's anenvironment which allows you to execute programs server side. I.e. programswhich are run by the server not the client, in this case the web browser.For more information on this, please see my article titled "Whatare Active Server Pages".
At the time of writing this article, ASP.Net is currently in Beta, meaningthat it has not even been released as a final product yet. For a generaloverview of .Net, please see our article titled "Introducing .Net Part 1".
If you are interested in learning to program Active Server Pages then youwill need the following items:
- A computer running Windows 98/Windows ME/Windows 2000/
- Personal Web Server
- A text editor
- A web browser
Your text editor could be Windows Notepad if you did not want to endure anycosts. Your text editor will be used to write your ASP pages. Once you havewritten your ASP page, all you have to do is save it into the requiredfolder on your computer and then fire up your web browser to preview.
If you wanted to use something a bit smarter with minimal fuss, you couldpurchase a copy of Macromedia Ultradev 4 which allows you to build ActiveServer Pages simply using a WYSIWYG (What you see is what you get) editor.This will allow you to design the look and feel of your web pages and thenplug in your ASP code afterwards using various wizards and integratedfeatures. You can also code by hand in Ultradev. Visit the Macromedia websitefor more details or to download a 30 day demo of Ultradev. It's a goodproduct!
Visual Interdev is an application which comes with Visual Studio fromMicrosoft. It is an editor which allows you to program Active Server Pageswhich tightly integrates with other Microsoft products. Personally there arebetter applications on the market these days. Interdev is becoming a datedapplication now so research it before buying. Go to the Microsoftwebsite to learn more.
To actually get ASP up and running in the first place, you need to installPersonal Web Server. To learn how to do this, check out my article titled "StartingActive Server Pages".
There is a huge array of books out there for ASP. I can obviously onlyrecommend books which I have actually read. My real favourite for beginnerswas titled "Beginning Active Server Pages 2.0" it is published by Wrox press.
If you need to get started much quicker, why not check out the Active ServerPages tutorials at beginners. Clickhere to access a whole host of excellent tutorials waiting to be read.
To answer your second question quickly from above I can see no real problemwith installing Personal web server. Infact, if you can get your hands onthe CDROM for Windows 98, it's on there titled "Windows NT 4.0 Optionpack". This can also be installed on Windows 98 computers. Windows 2000computers automatically comes with Internet Information Server 5.0 whichincorporates Personal Web Server.
Before you install any new product, remember to ensure you have a backup ofyour data.
I hope this answers some of your questions.
If anybody else would like to ask any questions on any subject to do withWeb Development, drop me an email at email@example.com. I will bemore than happy to help.
Until next time, have fun.
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