Lesson 1: Intro to ASP
Quick intro to Active Server Pages.
So you have seen and heard about ASP on the web, and now you wonder
what it is, and what it can do for you. Well, Microsoft introduced
Active Server Pages in December 1996.
Microsoft made it available for its Internet Information Server (IIS),
beginning with Version 3.0. It is an open technology framework,
comprised of several different commonly used programming disciplines.
It makes it easy to integrate heavy programs and databases to web pages.
At the core of ASP we find VBScript. It acts as a glue to combine
all the power ASP into your web pages, and often when people speak of
ASP and ASP code, they really mean VBScript code. VBScript is the default
script language in ASP, but you can use Perl, JScript etc. ASP
is run server side, meaning that the script is run on the dedicated server,
so that the webpage functions regardless of browser (it generates clean
In May 2000 Microsoft estimated that there where over 800.000 ASP developers
in the world, making Active Server Pages a high-growth technology.
At the same time they estimated that over 500 companies was producing ASP
components and applications covering functionality from accounting and electronic
commerce to mainframe and other legacy data access.
What can it do?
Everything! Almost. The possibilities are endless, but some key
uses are creating webpages based on database searches,
personalized pages, display of different pages for different
browsers, online shops, password protection, games and form processing.
Take a look!
This is some samples to show you what you can do with ASP.
VBScript chat (Lesson 2)
Othello game (VBScript code archive)
Simple password protection (VBScript code archive)
What do I need to start?
To get the full power and all the features of ASP, you need
a MS Windows NT 4.0 machine with IIS 4.0 (IIS 4.0 is a free upgrade
to NT included in the NT 4.0 Option Pack) or Windows 2000 Server (IIS 5.0).
You can also install a light version of ASP on your Win95/Win98/WinME machine with PWS
(Personal Web Server, you can find PWS on the Windows 98 CD-ROM or
download it from Microsoft.com, it's included in the NT 4.0 Option Pack)
If you run on a UNIX flavour, or for some reason don't want IIS, you
can buy ChiliASP.
The easiest way to publish ASP pages are getting NT/Win2000 hosting.
To find a hosts you should check out HostIndex.
If you want to check out free hosting check out this
updated list of free hosts
from ASPCode.net. (Please note the you should never have a serious or critical site hosted on a free host.)
To write the code, you only need a text editor like Notepad, Emacs or EditPad.
What is the future of ASP?
Microsoft is developing a new version of ASP as a part of it's new .NET
product range called ASP.NET (previously called ASP+). To learn more about
ASP.NET read this free sample chapter from the book Introducing .NET.
Where to go next:
Check out our VBScript intro: Lesson5.
Take a look at our lessons page
to get an overview of all our lessons. You should also read through
our ASP FAQ