Developed by Microsoft (1996), Active Server Page (ASP) is still one of the most prevalent dynamic scripting languages used online. (Microsoft 2004)
ASP scripting with VBScript (based on Microsoft Visual Basic) and JScript (based on Sun’s Java), can be embedded inside HTML pages, but unlike static HTML pages (3.2: Hypertext Mark-up Language) if the requested ASP page is stored on a Microsoft Web Server running Internet Information Service (IIS) it will identify its extension as ‘.asp’. The web server can then process the requested .asp page using an asp.dll. After execution, the resulting HTML content is sent to the browser.
ASP can also take advantage of Microsoft’s Component Object Model (COM). One such component is ActiveX (similar to Java applets). Several types of ActiveX components exist, Controls, Documents to name a few, that add extra functionality to ASP pages which browser would not normally support e.g. ASP page with a MS Office application embedded.
In January 2002, Microsoft released the first version of ASP.NET (previously called ASP+).
ASP.NET is a technology based upon .NET Framework classes. The most recent version is currently 2.0, November 2005 (available at: microsoft.com/net). Although, technically started life as MS J++, Microsoft had to abandon over legal issues with Sun Microsystems. (CNET News – Sun, Microsoft settle Java suit)
It makes use of pseudo-html tags to define which components should be used on the page. It allows much better object oriented approach to design web applications. Each component can have its own behaviour defined and it is up to developer to make the components work together.
One of the most important changes in .NET is the ability to cater for different languages by setting a universal format implementation called Common Language Runtime (CLR).
ASP.NET is not a language as such, but ASP.NET classes implement CLR allowing the developer to use array of development languages supported in the framework not previously available with early ASP.
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