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4GuysFromRolla.com : ASP FAQS : The Nature of Things


How can I pop up a message from ASP? An alert box, when something goes wrong. A "confirm" dialog showing details of a record to make sure the user really wants to delete the record?

[Print this FAQ]

Answer: Think about this for a moment: You are running your ASP code on a Server machine in Lower Franconia, South Texas. Your user is in an airplane flying over Zurich, Switzerland.

In the course of processing some database function or some file function or who knows what, you discover that you want to "pop up" some message to your user. So you ask VBScript to do a MsgBox to display the message.

But remember, your code is running on that server in South Texas. Where do you suppose that MsgBox is going to "pop up"? Yep, on the system console of the Server box that is sitting in the back room in Lower Franconia! If the System Administrator even notices it, he's gonna be damned annoyed at you for putting up a message box every 7.312 seconds! You will probably be kicked off the machine.

Luckily for you, VBScript is smart enough to realized it's running on a server and won't let you make the call to MsgBox from ASP!

Remember the fundamentals of Web Servers: The Web Server only can send back HTML to whomever asked for it. (See, for example,

The best you can do is send back an HTML page and on that page do the popup! The usual way to do that is something like this:

<BODY onLoad="alert('I could NOT process your request!');">

See that? You send back an entire HTML page to the user (you know, the guy in a 747 over Geneva by now) and HTML (in cooperation with JavaScript) is what actually does the popup. (For an example of this be sure to read JavaScript Confirm Form Submissions and User Interactivity in ASP using Client Side Scripting.)

But you can not do this without sending back an entire standard HTML page!

Hokay? Got that? Period. End of statements.

(Well, one more statement. For more information on client-side and server-side processing, be sure to check out: ASP Basics: What's Happening Back There?)

FAQ posted by Bill Wilkinson at 1/22/2001 7:09:02 PM to the The Nature of Things category. This FAQ has been viewed 62,109 times.

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Last computed at 9/17/2007 3:22:00 AM

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