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Published: Friday, September 08, 2000

Getting Started with ASP, Part 2

By Akshay Luther

  • Read Part 1

  • In Part 1 we discussed what, in essence, ASP is and some general tasks it can be used for. We also looked at the software requirements for viewing/creating/running ASP pages on a Windows 98 machine. In this part I detail several useful on-line references and resources that will get you up and running coding ASP before you know it!

    - continued -

    The three the essential references that you absolutely cannot do without:

      1. Microsoft ASP Objects Reference: Zip File | Online Version
      I've downloaded the reference and zipped the files for you. I highly recommend you print each page out and file in a binder with tabs for each object. The home page is iiwaref.html.

      2. Microsoft VBScript Reference: Online Version
      You don't really need to print this out. Just keep the link handy.

      3. Microsoft ADO Documentation.
      You already installed this along with PWS. Find it in the Start Menu.

    Finally, it's very important that you learn SQL when you start working with databases. There are other alternatives to using SQL and they are not even to be considered. It's fairly easy to learn. A great tutorial can be found at: http://w3.one.net/~jhoffman/sqltut.htm. It's a good idea to print this out if you are new to SQL. You can also ask your SQL-related questions on the Database Forum at ASPMessageboard.com.

    Just a quick note before you get into the meat of things. The default home directory when you install PWS is \inetpub\wwwroot. Save all your ASPs in this directory. These files can be accessed via the URL or http://localhost/ using your browser with PWS running. Accessing the file via the server enables it to execute your ASP code.

    Now that you have everything in order you can start getting a feel of ASP. Builder.com has a good intro at http://www.builder.com/Programming/ASPIntro/?tag=st.cn.sr1.dir. Now that you've got a feel for what it's about, you can start exploring. It's a good idea to buy a book, although if you have a fair bit of experience with programming it's not essential. Sams Teach Yourself Active Server Pages 3.0 in 21 Days by Scott Mitchell & James Atkinson is a good book to start with. Sams Active Server Pages 2.0 Unleashed is a great second book to help you cement your understanding of ASP and to fully take advantage of it.

    Some very good sites that you can visit to learn ASP are:

    Soon you'll be want to publish you wonderful applications for the world to see and use. There are a couple sites that offer free ASP hosting along with MS Access support. I have tried DomainDLX and recommend it.

    Also, check out the free Web hosts discussed at: Finding an ASP Home on the Web.

    Finally, a bit about the bigger picture: the 3-tier model as it applies to web applications. The first tier is the data tier and contains the data source, the second is the business logic tier which contains all the logic to process the data and finally the third is the presentation tier where all the data is presented. Ideally, all three cases would be completely separate, however in reality the business logic and the presentation are not often completely separable (the database is separate in any case). This is easy to understand when you think about the structure of an ASP. Because it contains HTML as well as the logic on how to act on data contained in the data store. However, if ActiveX components are used, some degree of separation can be achieved because these components can contain the business logic. So why all the fuss about adhering to the 3-tier model anyway? Simply because the application then becomes very flexible, and you can change one without worrying about the other two.

    I am quite happy to help fellow developers so feel free to email me with your questions. Good luck and have fun with ASP!

    Happy Programming!

  • Akshay Luther

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