ASP Components by Shelley Powers
by: Songmuh Jong, send
by: O'Reilly & Associates, Inc., go
to the web site
of the Visual Studio products (Visual C++, Visual Basic, or
Visual J++), version 5 or 6; experience with Active Server
Pages (ASP), and preferably access to IIS on Windows NT Server
4.0 or above with the Option Pack (including ASP service) installed
(Ed Note: reviewed in 1999)
my last review of the IDG book "Active Server
Pages for Dummies", I had the opportunity
to work on an Internet project using ASP heavily.
Because of that, I was excited about reviewing
this book which describes how to create ASP components
that can be used together with the ASP pages. For
those of you who are new to this, ASP pages are
server scripts that reside on the server and called
by HTML pages. ASP scripts can also be embedded
in the HTML pages, but will be interpreted and
compiled into standard HTML code before it is sent
back to the user's browser. ASP components, on
the other hand, are usually DLL files that reside
on the server and are called by the ASP script
to perform pre-compiled codes. This book is mainly
for programmers who are interested in developing
ASP components, which are kinds of COM objects
promoted by Microsoft.
are three types of Microsoft products that are able to
create ASP components, including Visual C++, Visual Basic
and Visual J++. This book discusses all the three products.
In essence, this book is divided into four sections, the
last three being devoted to one of the products. Therefore,
the book is not so thick as it appears when one needs to
read only the section for one compiler. For this review,
however, I have tried all the compilers that are accessible
to me. My Visual J++ 1.1 does not create components automatically.
However, it came with the utility javareg.exe that would
register the resulting Java classes. My Visual C++ 5 and
Visual Basic 5 are all capable of creating COM projects even
though the screens are different from that shown in the book.
The author obviously used Dev Studio 6, which provides more
automation and options to the creation of ASP components.
The first part of this book is an introduction to the ASP,
components, threads, transaction, Microsoft Transaction Server,
and the ASP objects. Anyone who has tried to set up the ASP
environment can tell you that it is not straightforward unless
you are using the most recent Option Pack for NT Server.
This book has also a chapter in part I to describe how you
can establish the ASP environment. It also points out the
most compelling reason to write ASP components instead of
ASP scripts: to create a profitable solution for your projects.
There is little you cannot achieve with ASP scripts that
you can do in ASP components. However, you cannot expect
a high profit if the buyers can read your scripts and customize
them by themselves. Other reasons are well described in the
Writing ASP scripts or components is easy once you master
the art of interaction with the ASP objects and database
access objects. The ASP objects are essential for you to
create dynamic HTML pages while the database is obviously
the ultimate object you want to interact with. The ASP (or
in fact any E-commerce projects) exists because we need a
solution to process user data. Because of that, client/server
programmers have a definitive advantage in understanding
the whole process. This book describes in detail all the
aspects of accessing various objects with lots of sample
codes. It covers also the N-tier ASP components--a subject
most appreciated by Client/Server programmers.
In summary, this book is an ideal introduction and reference
for programmers who are experienced in ASP scripts but want
to learn ASP components. The free-style discussion covers
all of the programming scenes you'll ever encounter in creating
a web site using ASP no matter you are using Visual C++,
Visual Basic or Visual J++. The only thing it lacks is an
extensive discussion of the difference between Internet Explorer
and Netscape Navigator, although some examples are displayed
web developer, I suffer from the incompatibility between
browsers everyday. Codes working for Internet Explorer may
not work with Navigator and sometimes vice versa. Most of
the time, I develop for Navigator first because it makes
stricter demands of syntax. Hopefully, the browser war
can end with standards applicable to all browsers. Before
that, make sure that your ASP code generates a browser-compliant
HTML page. Otherwise, they may not be displayed at all!
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