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Published: Monday, August 21, 2000

Designing Active Server Pages: A Shameless Plug

By Scott Mitchell

Designing Active Server Pages! Recently I finished work on my second book, Designing Active Server Pages. This book - which presents information, examples, and advice on creating robust, reusable ASP Pages - is intended for the intermediate to advanced ASP developer.

- continued -

I've been creating ASP pages since January, 1998; I've worked in teams creating large data-driven sites, and have reviewed other developers' ASP pages. Also, as Webmaster of 4Guys, I am routinely constructing ASP pages for various tasks. In my experiences I've found that, when creating ASP pages, developers put little time in designing the script and immediately start coding. Such action, as I point out in the Introduction of my book, Designing Active Server Pages, can lead to wasted development time and buggy Web sites:

If no thought is dedicated to determining the design of the ASP scripts before they are actually written, for each similar script, the developer essentially reinvents the wheel. For example, imagine that the developer has four ASP scripts that need to make modifications to a database. While these scripts may not be identical, assume that they all have many functional similarities in common. Why should the developer spend the time to create each page separately, when one generic page would do?

Reinventing the wheel is not only inefficient but is also error prone. There is a direct correlation between the amount of code you write and the number of bugs in your program. Typos and silly mistakes catch us all, and they occur proportionally to the amount of raw source code actually written. If we can reduce the number of total ASP scripts that need to be written by generalizing certain scripts to handle the functionality present in the previous four, we will create less buggy ASP applications.
Mitchell, Scott. Designing Active Server Pages. Chapter 1.

I don't know exactly why developers feel the need to rush when developing ASP pages (I am guilty of this too!). Perhaps it is because ASP pages are created with scripting languages, and, by nature, scripting languages are used to develop quick, succinct solutions. Or perhaps it has to do with the fact that ASP pages are used for creating Web pages, and, when working on such tasks, developers are subconsciously thinking in "Internet time."

User Comments
"Finally! This book is an ASP developers dream. First off, if you have intermediary ASP skills, this will push you over the top. If you are quite advanced, this book is an important read to remind you of the importance of well written, reusable code. Thank you very much, rolla man!"
David Johnson
Whatever the cause for hastily created ASP pages, the fact of the matter remains that ASP pages are, more often than not, created without spending sufficient time in analyzing the problem and the need for the script before actual coding begins. Designing Active Server Pages examines this behavior in detail. Various design techniques are discussed, and various methods for practicing intelligent application design are covered as well. Designing Active Server Pages also provides some very real-world examples (along with complete source code and a lengthy discussion on the various design-time decisions made) of how spending significant time up-front in the design of ASP pages can result in fewer needed ASP pages and less buggy code!

As I mentioned earlier, Designing Active Server Pages is for the intermediate to advanced ASP developer, especially those who create ASP-driven Web sites in teams of developers. If you are an experienced ASP developer, Designing Active Server Pages is a book you need in your library! It will help you to create more robust and reusable ASP applications.

At this time, there is a sample chapter on-line. The sample chapter is the first chapter of the book, and touches upon the need for Active Server Page design and discusses, from a high-level view, some of the technologies developers have at hand to aid in creating reusable, robust scripts. I encourage you to take a few minutes and read this chapter. Designing Active Server Pages, which will be in book stores by the end of September, can be purchased on-line at this time.

Interested in Learning More?
If you are interested in learning more about what my book, Designing Active Server Pages, is like, take a few moments to read an article I wrote, Five Tips for Designing Active Server Pages! These overall theme of this book can be seen in these five tips!

Happy Programming!


  • Read the Sample Chapter
  • Buy the book on-line!

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