What is ASP Programming?
ASP.NET is a server-side web application development framework allowing developers to build web applications, websites, and web services. It was first introduced by Microsoft in early 2002, and in these 14 years, it has undergone a lot of changes.
Basically, ASP.NET has three programming models:
- ASP.NET Web Forms
- ASP.NET Web Pages
- ASP.NET MVC
Even though the end result of all of the preceding programming models is to produce the dynamic web pages effectively, the methodologies that they follow differ from each other. Let us discuss each one of these programming models to understand their principles.
Active Server Pages (ASP) programming is writing code to facilitate ASP functionality on websites. Such functionality includes the delivery of dynamic, database-driven content to website viewers without taxing the server-side system. ASP programming involves writing ASP files and HTML files. The ASP code is place within the HTML pages, enclosed in special tags. When you need to make changes in the code, you need to change only the ASP files; the HTML files, which do nothing but go and get the ASP files’ coding, need not be changed.
ASP files have a file extension of .asp, much like HTML files have file extensions of either .htm or .html. The HTML files that contain the ASP instructions enclose those instructions within tags that look like this: <% and %>. Notice that unlike HTML, the ASP ending tag does not include a slash. To send the results of an ASP instruction directly to a browser, you add an equals sign: <%=.
ASP.NET Web Forms
Historically, when ASP.NET was first introduced, ASP Web Forms was the only programming model available to programmers to develop web applications in ASP.NET.
The ASP.NET Web Forms model abstracted the web so that it can maintain the state even though the web is inherently stateless.
It also supports the event-driven programming model at the server-side. This has helped desktop application developers to have a smooth transition in moving into web application development.
Like PHP and several other web application frameworks, ASP.NET Web Forms is a file-based framework where users access the web page by means of accessing a file at the server. The server will process your request, convert all of your server-side components in that file to HTML, and send it back to the requesting client.
Each web page in ASP.NET Web Forms is represented by two files:
.aspx file contains your front end components-all of your ASP controls and your HTML elements. The
.aspx.cs (if you are using C# as the code-behind language) or
.aspx.vb (if you are using Visual Basic as the code-behind programming language) contains the code for events which are happening at the web page.
This was the predominant programming model prior to the arrival of ASP.NET MVC, and this programming model is still being use to maintain the production applications that were written using this model.
ASP.NET Web Pages
ASP.NET Web Pages are primarily target at small web applications where the data-processing logic is written directly on the web page.
ASP code is place within HTML pages to facilitate website functionality
ASP programming involves scripting in Visual Basic Script, Jscript, Perl, Python, or other languages. Certain modifications are necessary, but the programmer who has written code in these other languages will find ASP programming to be familiar indeed. The two languages that work the best for this type of programming are VBScript and Jscript.
One common use of ASP programming is to gather data from the user and display it at another time. For example, you can use ASP programming to query the user to type in his or her name and then display that name on subsequent pages during the user’s visit. Once the name is input, the programming protocols transfer that data to the requisite database, from which it can be accessed by other HTML pages that contain the coding guiding such requests. Such data requests and displays can be as complex as you want to make them.
Written data isn’t the only thing that can be upload to your website using ASP programming. You can design forms that allow users to upload image files to your site as well. Real estate websites are perfect examples of sites that can take advantage of this functionality.
ASP programming also comes in handy when your HTML pages and what they display involve accessing large databases containing tons of data. In this case, you will really appreciate the benefits of not having to change HTML files when you update the parameters of your databases. ASP programming makes this process simple.
Why Should I Use It?
There are plenty of good reasons to use ASP.NET when developing a website or an application. High speed, low cost, and vast language support are among the most significant benefits. ASP.NET is built into the familiar Windows server environment, requiring less setup and configuration than other web development platforms that must be installed and configured separately. The popularity of ASP.NET makes online resources and skilled developers easy to find.
Websites and applications built with ASP.NET can be faster and more efficient than a website build with PHP, for example. ASP.NET applications are compile, which means the code is into object code, which is then execute. This compilation process takes a small amount of time, but happens only once. After compilation, the code can be execute over and over by the .Net platform very quickly.
The compilation process also provides validation that all of the code is consistent. For example, if a method named GetUser is renamed to GetEmployee as part of some code updates, any reference to GetUser throughout the rest of the application will cause an error during compilation, making it easy to identify and fix. Interpreted languages would not identify this error until the code is actually run and tested. In a large application, it is very time consuming to manually test every scenario, or to write and maintain additional code that tests of every scenario, whenever code is changed.
ASP.NET is written using Object Oriented Programming languages such as C# or VB.net.
Object Oriented Programming provides a framework and patterns for code organization and reuse. While VB.net is a holdover from Microsoft’s legacy Visual Basic product and has largely fallen out of favor among developers, C# is a first class programming language and consistently ranks among the worlds most in-demand and most-used programming languages.
Finally, even though ASP.NET is open source and free to use, it is actively developed and supported by the world’s largest software company, Microsoft. Microsoft is heavily invested in their development platforms, their developer community, and supporting the software companies use to run these applications. This means you don’t need to worry about your software becoming yesterday’s news any time soon.