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ASP.NET Web Developer's Guide

By Mesbah Ahmed, Chris Garrett, Jeremy Faircloth, and Chris Payne
Since 1996, ASP programmers have faced one upgrade after another, often with no extremely visible advantages until version 3.x—it’s been quite a wild ride. Now we have the first significant improvement in ASP programming within our grasp —ASP.NET. Our reliance on a watered-down version of Visual Basic has been alleviated now that ASP.NET pages may be programmed in both Microsoft’s new and more powerful version of Visual Basic or the latest version of C++: C#, which is more Web friendly.ASP.NET allows programmers and developers to work with both VB.NET and C# within the same ASP.NET page. .NET itself is a milestone for Microsoft; it marks Microsoft’s entry into the “run once, run everywhere” compiler market alongside Java and Ruby. .NET is also notable for its extreme flexibility; unlike the other choices available, .NET allows the programmer to use any number of .NET-compliant languages to create its code (however, as of this writing, only VB.NET and C# are allowed for ASP.NET) and have it run anywhere through the robust .NET Framework.Visual Basic and C++ have undergone changes as well; Visual Basic was already somewhat Web-oriented through its sibling,Visual Basic Script (VBS).
Since VBS was not visually orientated, like Visual Basic, this meant that a lot of the prewritten code employed by Visual Basic did not create performance issues.This did mean, however, that VBS was not graced with an IDE to debug or troubleshoot with, making the server logs and the browser error messages a programmer’s only hope of figuring out what went wrong and where.The lack of an IDE led to several complications and eventually programmers had to create their own error-handling system, usually consisting of a log file and e-mail notification.
VBS had another obstacle to overcome in attempting to offer programmers more than what originally was basically a scaled-down version of Visual Basic.VBS lacked many of Visual Basic’s strong features due to the way that the IIS was limited at the time, especially with object creation and cleanup. Programmers experienced code or objects locking up before destruction, rampant memory leaks, and even buffer overflows that were caused by IIS, not by the code itself.
With .NET in general,Visual Basic and VBS are now one and the same. All of the Web-oriented abilities of VBS have been given to Visual Basic and it has received a significant retooling of the language and syntax. Many previous problems, such as poor memory management and object control, have been resolved by the .NET Common Language Runtime (CLR) and internal programming additions, such as the inclusion of the Try/Catch error-handling system and more low-level abilities than before. All in all,Visual Basic can now be called a true programming language.
C++ retained all the aspects that made it a powerful programming language, such as its excellent object control and error-handling techniques, in its new version, C#. It has now gained a very good IDE as well as being more Web-based, a trait that can be attributed to the .NET Framework and ASP.NET. It is expected that many programmers will still use C# for object control while combining it with Visual Basic’s ease of use for GUI and presentation.
This book is meant to show all ASP programmers, new and old, just how powerful ASP.NET now is. Unlike ASP 1.x through 3.x, which worked in Windows 95 through the Personal Web Server tool, you will need at least Windows 2000, all the latest service packs, Internet Explorer 6, IIS 5.x (up to date), and the .NET SDK installed. As of this writing, the latest version of .NET is Beta 2, which covers the framework,ASP, and its programming languages. Remember, this book is meant to be an introduction to ASP.NET, not VB.NET or C#. If you need a good book on VB.NET or C#, I recommend looking to two other books published by Syngress Publishing: The VB.NET Developer’s Guide (ISBN 1-928994-48-2) and The C#.NET Web Developer’s Guide (ISBN 1-928994-50-4).

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