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ASP

What does ASP mean?
Are they really called ASP pages?
What is ASP code?
How is ASP different from HTML?
How is ASP different from DHTML?
What does server-side script mean?
Do my visitors need another plugin?
How do I enable ASP on my site?
Can you check my code?
Can I edit ASP code in FrontPage?
What are the issues when creating ASP in FrontPage?
What are some good programs for writing ASP?
Where are good sources of information on ASP?
Why does Coastline does support ASP over PERL?

What is ASP?
ASP stands for Active Server Pages.  A file (or page) with an .asp extension is called an ASP page.  ASP pages need the .asp extension.  Many site designers use the .asp just in case they decide to add the ASP code later as it saves them time later (they donít have to rename all those links.)

Are they really called ASP pages?
Yes.  While ASP pages may seem redundant, it is what any file with a .asp file extension is called. 

What is ASP code?
ASP code can be written in either VBScript or JavaScript, depending on your preference.  Sections of your pages that run ASP begin and end with <% %> tags, which tell the server ďrun this before sending.Ē  

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How is it different from HTML?
HTML is static code that tells browsers how your pages should look.  You can have graphics, hyperlinks, text and special scripts that run on the clientís computer.  The browser is key because it does all interpreting of script.  ASP pages, on the other hand, first run on the server.  The clientís browser never even sees the ASP code.  This allows the client to experience faster download times and dynamic pages.  You can query databases, rotate images and offer new content with each click (to name but a few).

How is ASP different from DHTML?
ASP and DHTML can use VBScript and JavaScript.  DHTML is script that is run on the clientís computer rather than the server.  The danger to DHTML is anybody can steal your script and use it on their own web site.  ASP code, on the other hand, is run on the server.  HTML is then sent to the clientís browser.

What does "server-side script" mean?
The script runs on the server first rather than on the clientís browser.  It is faster for your client because less has to be downloaded.  ASP also has the benefit of protecting your code because the client never sees it.  All they see is the resulting HTML.

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Do my visitors need another plugin?
No.  The script is supported by the server so the client doesnít perceive any changes.

How do I enable ASP on my site?
Go to www.coastline.com/cpanel.  Log in with your domain name and password.  Click on ďAdd ASP to my SiteĒ in the list of options.  ASP will be fully functional in about 15 minutes.

Can you check my code?
Coastline does not offer scripting advice or support. 

Can I edit ASP code in FrontPage?
Sometimes, depending on how complex your code is.  If your ASP code has become too complex for FrontPage it will automatically open the file in HTML mode and provide you with a warning when you switch to preview.

Are there any issues when writing ASP code in FrontPage?
Although we highly recommend FrontPage, if you are writing ASP code it can be a bit frustrating.  FrontPage tends to change code without any prompting.  Thatís its job.  So if you write code that FrontPage would have done differently it can change it asking your permission.  This can be endlessly aggravating.  The problem seems to occur when you switch back and forth between HTML and Normal mode so one key to successful ASP editing is to stay in HTML mode.

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What programs work well when editing ASP?
There are dozens of excellent programs but our favorites for ASP are:

HomeSite.  Of the top three editors (the other two being Dreamweaver and FrontPage), HomeSite is hands down the best program when working with ASP.  It is easier to learn than Visual Interdev and better when dealing with websites not actually on your own server.

ScriptWorx is a wonderful free program that lets you write and edit script without changing your code.  It feels a great deal like HomeSite without the folder management component.  It requires a some knowledge of web site design and structure for you to use it but itís actually 100% better for scripting than FrontPage and itís free (okay, we canít get over that part!).

Scribbler is also a great program, especially if youíre a JavaScript kind of person rather than a VBScript kind of person.  Scribbler is not free but itís very inexpensive and comes with over 50 JavaScript projects all set to go.

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Where are good sources of information on ASP?
Some excellent ASP sites include (but are not limited to)

Why does Coastline support ASP over PERL?
ASP was developed by Microsoft to be stable and powerful on Internet Information Server.  Each website can have its own memory space so somebody elseís bad code wonít interfere with the running of your great code.  Also, since ASP is written in either VBScript or JavaScript, it has the extra benefit of already being accessible.  Although PERL is an excellent option, we decided that ASP offers all of the functionality without the risk of slowed performance.