Active Server Pages (ASP) enables you to combine HTML, scripts, and reusable Microsoft ActiveX server components to create dynamic Web sites. ASP provides server-side scripting for IIS with native support for both Microsoft® Visual Basic® Scripting Edition and Microsoft® JScript™. Processing for ASP occurs on the server. The output of an ASP file is plain HTML customized for the Web browser.
Using ASP allows a Web developer to provide, with relatively little effort, dynamic content to users. The Web site can deliver content customized for that particular user based on user preferences, demographics, customer information, or a more fundamental criterion, like whether the user’s Web browser can view content displayed in frames.
Easy Database Connectivity
The Active Data Object (ADO) component provides standard access to multiple data sources. IIS includes drivers for Microsoft® SQL Server™, Microsoft Access and Oracle databases. Using Open Database Connectivity (ODBC), other databases supported.
The OLE DB further extends the ODBC standard to permit connection to various data sources. These data sources include Microsoft® Excel files, text files, log files, Microsoft® Exchange servers, indexed sequential access method (ISAM), virtual storage access method (VSAM), AS/400 and many other sources.
Scalable Server-Side Solution
The IIS administrator may choose to run all of the applications on the Web server in the same address space for scaling and efficiency. By default, IIS uses threads within the Web server’s address space, instead of creating a new process for each user. The administrator can configure a single application to run in a separate memory space, to assure that a problem with one application will not impact the remaining Web applications on the server. Running applications in their memory space requires additional memory.
Integrated State and User Management
Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) is a stateless protocol. The Web server does not maintain state information about the client. Creating dynamic applications requires state management, which ASP can provide. Using the Application and Session objects, the state of the application is available in both Application and Session scope. The Application object is a repository for information and objects that are available application wide. In this sense, they are ‘global‘ objects and data. The Session object maintains information on a per-user basis. A separate copy of the Session object created for each user of the application.
Reusable Software Model
ASP enables developers to reuse software components. Components may also be aggregated. For example, if a component provides 85 percent of the functionality required by an application, the developer may just capitalize on the functions of that component and only code the remaining 15 percent of the functionality required.
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