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ASP Introduction

What is ASP?
APS stands for Active Server Pages and it is a popular web development technology created by Microsoft Corp. ASP pages are executed within the context of IIS (Internet Information Services). IIS is a scalable web server, which comes as a part of Windows 2000 Server and Windows 2003 Server. IIS is shipped also with Windows 2000 Professional and with Windows XP Professional editions. In order to be able to develop ASP applications you need to have a copy of any of the operation systems mentioned above.

ASP Files
ASP files are text files with extension .asp. ASP files can contain HTML tags, plain text and script blocks. One of the differences between a regular HTML page and ASP page is that the ASP page may contain script blocks, which are executed on the server.

ASP Files Execution (Interpretation)
When IIS receives request from a browser for an HTML page, it simply returns the page to the browser, without any additional server side processing.
We have a totally different picture, when IIS receives request for ASP page. Instead of returning the ASP page code directly to the userís browser, IIS sends the ASP page for processing to the ASP ISAPI filter. The ASP ISAPI filter reads the ASP file, line by line, from the top to the bottom and executes the script blocks in the file (if any). After the server-side processing is completed IIS returns plain HTML to the browser which requested the ASP page.

ASP Purpose and Applications
ASP is a very powerful technology, allowing you to do any of the following:

1. Display dynamically generated HTML pages
2. Submit, process and store data submitted through HTML forms
3. Personalize web pages
4. Retrieve/Edit/Store data from databases like MS SQL Server, MySQL, MS Access and Oracle
5. Use COM objects within your web applications

You can use any text editor to create ASP pages. ASP is very easy to learn, and by the end of this tutorial you will know everything you need to develop complex dynamic web application.

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