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Oct 28, 2012

Asp.Net Tutorial (PART-4)

Why ASP Was Not Originally Embraced

Active Server Pages was not an overnight success, though understandably it did capture the imagination of a large sector of the development community, particularly those already well versed in Visual Basic programming or Visual Basic for applications scripting.

Others who did not have an investment in Visual Basic knowledge found the limitations of Visual Basic, and by extension Visual Basic Scripting, reasons to avoid the technology. Faults included poor memory management, the lack of strong string management abilities, such as Regular Expressions, found in other established languages.When compared to CGI with Perl,ASP was found lacking.

At that time, Internet Information Server was in its infancy, and take-up was low, despite Microsoft's public relations juggernaut going into full flow after the company's much-reported dramatic turnaround. In comparison to current versions of the software it seems very poor, but it was still competitive on performance.

Until 1997, back-end Web programming was pretty much owned by CGI and Perl. High-performance Web sites usually had a mix of C-compiled programs for the real business engine, and Perl for the more lightweight form processing.

There was a fair amount of doubt and suspicion around Microsoft's Internet efforts, including IIS and Internet Explorer, and ISAPI had not done all that much to bring across a huge sector of the development community. Despite this uncertain atmosphere, Microsoft saw many Windows NT 4 licenses being bought specifically for Web hosting and development increasing.Third-party support for anything other than small components was initially slow, but, as with all Microsoft products, after the first couple of releases they usually get things right, and ASP was no exception.

Whereas Perl had a huge community of developers led by the heroic figure of Larry Wall, the ASP developer was not yet well supported.A Perl programmer was encouraged from the top to share and make his or her code open, so the community thrived, with every conceivable solution or library just a few clicks away at the Comprehensive Perl Archive Network (CPAN) site, or at one of the many other Web sites and news groups. Contrast this with the ingrained competitive and financially led philosophies of the third-party component vendors in the Windows Distributed Internet Applications (DNA) world. Of course, it did not take the ASP community long to grow to be the loving, sharing success it is now.

Developing ASP 1.x

ASP 1 was an upgrade to Internet Information Server 2, bringing it up to version 3, and was installed as an optional downloaded component.The public beta was first made available in October 1996 and the final release was a factor in IIS quickly overtaking Netscape in the server market.

Around the same period, Microsoft had purchased and further developed a Web site authoring tool called FrontPage that brought with it a new organizational and hosting concept of the FrontPage Web, enabling the developer to deploy Web applications in drag and drop style without using the File Transfer Protocol (FTP).This concept would be carried through into Microsoft Visual Interdev, Microsoft's new HTML and ASP editing environment.

ASP 1 was surprisingly feature-rich for a version 1 product. It included much of the revolutionary functionality ASP that today's programmers take for granted, such as ActiveX Data Objects that shield the programmer from differences in database implementations, with record sets to easily access and navigate database query results, and the ability to mix and match logic and presentation code in the
same page. Programmers found the limitations of some areas frustrating, for example, options for reading and writing to the file system; but overall,ASP 1 was a breath of fresh air, and many developers quickly and eagerly adopted it.

Developing ASP 2.x

Once ASP 1 had settled and become established, Microsoft released a new version of Internet Information Server and an upgrade to ASP, with a combined download called the Windows NT 4 Option Pack.This time,ASP was built in to the Web server setup and was not seen as an extra.The Web server was a big improvement, with better support and functionality all round and the addition of a Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP) Mail service.

With ASP 2, the technology matured to the point where developers could really implement powerful, large-scale solutions. Big-name companies adopted the Microsoft platform for their high traffic transactional sites and the technology proved itself time and again against the demands of serving up millions of page views.

From launch, ASP 2 showed improvements across the board, such as increased file system functionality, added components, and language improvements.Thirdparty developers released components into the market place that filled in every conceivable gap in functionality, and developers were producing their own bespoke components through ASP's Component Object Model (COM)-based architecture.

Developer tools also had upgrades, with Visual Interdev becoming much improved and better integrated into the Visual Studio suite, with access to Visual Source Safe for source control.Third-party tool vendors had also developed their own solutions, with many wizard-style developers' toolkits and integrated environments coming to market, such as the popular Macromedia Ultradev.

More recently,Microsoft extended the language code with incremental releases of the language runtime Scripting Engines, allowing for improvements in the languages, such as support for Regular Expressions, without the need for full new versions of Active Server Pages.

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