Active Server Pages (ASP) , also known as Classic ASP or ASP Classic, was Microsoft's first server-side script-engine for dynamically-generated web pages. Initially released as an add-on to Internet Information Services (IIS) via the Windows NT 4.0 Option Pack (ca 1998), it was subsequently included as a free component of Windows Server (since the initial release of Windows 2000 Server). ASP.NET has superseded ASP.
Web pages with the .asp file extension use ASP, although some web sites disguise their choice of scripting language for security purposes (e.g. still using the more common .htm or .html extension). Pages with the .aspx extension use compiled ASP.NET (based on Microsoft's .NET Framework), which makes them faster and more robust than server-side scripting in ASP which is interpreted at run-time; however, many ASP.NET pages still include some ASP scripting. Such marked differences between ASP and ASP.NET have led to use of the terms Classic ASP or ASP Classic, which also implies some nostalgia for the simpler platform.
ASP.NET is a web application framework developed and marketed by Microsoft to allow programmers to build dynamic web sites, web applications and web services. It was first released in January 2002 with version 1.0 of the .NET Framework, and is the successor to Microsoft's Active Server Pages (ASP) technology. ASP.NET is built on the Common Language Runtime (CLR), allowing programmers to write ASP.NET code using any supported .NET language. The ASP.NET SOAP extension framework allows ASP.NET components to process SOAP messages.
.NET pages, known officially as "web forms", are the main building block for application development. Web forms are contained in files with an ".aspx" extension; these files typically contain static (X)HTML markup, as well as markup defining server-side Web Controls and User Controls where the developers place all the required static and dynamic content for the web page. Additionally, dynamic code which runs on the server can be placed in a page within a block <% -- dynamic code -- %> which is similar to other web development technologies such as PHP, JSP, and ASP, but this practice is generally discouraged except for the purposes of data binding since it requires more calls when rendering the page.
Microsoft recommends dealing with dynamic program code by using the code-behind model, which places this code in a separate file or in a specially designated script tag. Code-behind files typically have names like MyPage.aspx.cs or MyPage.aspx.vb while the page file is MyPage.aspx (same filename as the page file (ASPX), but with the final extension denoting the page language). This practice is automatic in Microsoft Visual Studio and other IDEs. When using this style of programming, the developer writes code to respond to different events, like the page being loaded, or a control being clicked, rather than a procedural walk through the document.
ASP.NET's code-behind model marks a departure from Classic ASP in that it encourages developers to build applications with separation of presentation and content in mind. In theory, this would allow a web designer, for example, to focus on the design markup with less potential for disturbing the programming code that drives it. This is similar to the separation of the controller from the view in model-view-controller frameworks.
What we can do using ASP?
- Dynamically edit, change, or add any content of a Web page
- Respond to user queries or data submitted from HTML forms
- Access any data or databases and return the results to a browser
- Customize a Web page to make it more useful for individual users
- The advantages of using ASP instead of CGI and Perl, are those of simplicity and speed
- Provide security - since ASP code cannot be viewed from the browser
- Minimize the network traffic