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Northwind / ASP - Nested select
ASP SQL Injection

 Lesson 14: EZ update
Lesson 14: EZ update

Author: Alexander Haneng
Difficulty: Easy
Requires: ASP
Demo: demo
Download: Lesson14.zip
Learn to use VBScript and text files to make content on your site easy to update (in fact so easy that your boss could do it!). All code is available. View the demo to see the result.

Most of today's websites features content that needs to be fresh, like news, pricelists, special offers etc. etc. And usually you have to go through this long routine everytime you need to make an update:
1. Open the HTML/ASP file with your texteditor/HTMLeditor.
2. Make the changes.
3. Upload the file to your website through an FTP program
This takes some time, but it's not that bad. The only real problem is that YOU have to do the update. Would you let your co-workers who can't even spell HTML anywhere near that file? I think not! So what can you do? As always haneng.com comes to the rescue!

The theory:
We are going to make an ASP page that pull some of it's content from a text file. And we are going to ad a simple form where you can edit the content of that text file. It's a simple solution for webpages that doesn't have the luxury of a database.
You can use this script for a number of functions (news, pricelist, special offers etc.), and we are going to pretend that we are making a site for the used car salesman "Sleezbag" Bob. Every week Bob has got a special offer on a crappy old car. Now he will be able to change the special offer each week himself.

The code:
We will use 4 files:
  • Default.asp This file is the main page for Bob's used cars
  • Edit.asp The file Bob uses to change the special offer
  • Save.asp The file used to save the changes to the text file
  • Content.txt The text file where we store the car of the week
I'm not going to show the whole code here, but I will explain some parts of the code that may be difficult to understand:
In default.asp we use this line to get the info from the file (this line is looped until the end of the file.):
Response.Write(MyTextFile.ReadLine & "<BR>")
But in Edit.asp we use this:
Response.Write(MyTextFile.ReadLine & Chr(10))
Why the <BR> and Chr(10)? Well in Default.asp we want the code to be displayed with the same linebreaking as we make in the edit form. The Chr(10) does the same in our editform. If we didn't use Chr(10), then all the text in the text file would be displayed in one long line.

In the Save.asp we use the parameters 2 and TRUE:
Set MyOutStream=MyFileObj.OpenTextFile(Server.MapPath("content.txt"), 2, TRUE)
As you may remember from the Guestbook lesson we used 8 instead of 2. So what does it mean? Well 8 means that everything we write to the file shall be placed under the current content of the file. We want the old content overwritten with the new, so therefor we use 2. TRUE means that if the file doesn't exist, it should be created for us.
You may also see that I use Response.Write() and not <%= %>. The result is actually the same, and if you want, you can write it like this:

Try the demo of Bob's used cars page (HTML tags are disabled in this demo)
Click here to download all the code.

  • Make sure that you have write access for the Content.txt. That often means that you have to place the file in the cgi-bin directory on your web server.
  • You may get problems if you use " in the text. In my tests I have had no problems, but if you modify the script, you may get some. Other characters that may cause trouble are < and >. The solution is using the Replace() function. For more info on that, see lesson 13.

You should make some kind of protection for the Edit.asp page to prevent people from altering your site. Use the Bouncer or the Password script from our Code Archive to do this. You can also ad some simple formatting with the Format_text script found on the same page.

A last comment:
I hope you find this script useful and it shouldn't be too hard to implement into your own site.

Where to go next:
Take a look at our lessons page to get an overview of all our lessons.

13: VBScript forms
15: Query strings, part I
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