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ASP or Active Server Pages is a Microsoft developed server-side scripting engine (SSI) designed to generate dynamic pages. It was originally an add-on engine to the Internet Information Services or IIS which is built into Windows operating systems. This initial release came bundled with the Windows NT 4.0 Option Pack and has since been included as a totally free component since the release of the popular Windows 2000 Server operating system.

The ability to program websites using ASP is made relatively straight-forward thanks to the use of built-in objects in the ASP engine. These objects are a grouping of various and frequently used items which are helpful to the development of dynamic ASP websites. As of the most currently released version, ASP 2.0, there is a total of 6 objects which includes the ASP Error, Application, Response, Request, Session as well as Server objects. Take the Sessions object for example; a developer can use this object similar to that of using cookies as a means of maintaining certain variables from one page to another.

It is important to point out that when visiting a website you may see either .asp file extensions or even an .aspx extension; however only the .asp extension is associated with the ASP SSI engine. The pages which have the .aspx extension are for a similar service known as the ASP.NET which is a mixture of the original ASP technology and the popular .NET technology; both of which are products of the Microsoft Corporation.

In general, the vast majority of ASP web pages are programmed using the VBScript development language. Virtually any language can be used, but to do so you will be required to change an engine variable; the @Language directive. Some of the other popular development languages used in the creation of ASP websites include the Jscript as well as the Perl Script languages.

Today there is a number of popular website content management systems developed using ASP. The most popular of these is that of the ASP Nuke which is the purely ASP version of the very popular .NET Nuke CMS.

There have been two major revamps of the ASP engine. Initially released with IIS 3.0 back in 1996, a year later when the IIS 4.0 was released so too was the ASP 2.0. Likewise in 2000, the ASP 3.0 was released with the IIS 5.0, but is now only available on the IIS 6.0 for the Windows Server 2003 operating system and the IIS 7.0 for the Windows Server 2008 system.

While it is possible to run websites using the original ASP engine, much like anything that has to do with Microsoft, they no longer support this release anymore. You will however need a specialised program running along side of the IIS service, but if you do not have full access to the server then the chances of having this installed will not be likely.

Original Authors: Nick
Edit Update Authors: M.A.Harris
Updated On: 22/12/2008

 


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