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ASP, ADO, and XML Complete

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ASP, ADO, and XML Complete is a one-of-a-kind computer book—valuable both for its extensive content and its low price. This book contains a wealth of vital information for any developer in need of a complete reference to the most essential technologies used for Web programming on the Windows platform.
ASP, ADO, and XML Complete not only covers the fundamentals of scripting and ASP but it also highlights database development with ADO and SQL Server, client-side scripting, ...

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Overview

ASP, ADO, and XML Complete is a one-of-a-kind computer book—valuable both for its extensive content and its low price. This book contains a wealth of vital information for any developer in need of a complete reference to the most essential technologies used for Web programming on the Windows platform.
ASP, ADO, and XML Complete not only covers the fundamentals of scripting and ASP but it also highlights database development with ADO and SQL Server, client-side scripting, building your own components, using XML with ASP, implementing e-commerce with Microsoft BizTalk server, and building your own online store.
ASP, ADO, and XML Complete introduces you to the work of some of Sybex's finest authors, so you'll know where to turn when you want to learn even more about key Web development topics.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780782129717
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 7/31/2001
  • Series: Sybex Complete Series
  • Edition description: 1ST
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 1012
  • Product dimensions: 5.94 (w) x 8.29 (h) x 2.22 (d)

Meet the Author

Sybex Inc.: Sybex editors and authors have created this book by pulling together the best information from our Microsoft Web development books, including Mastering Active Server Pages 3, ASP 3 Instant Reference, Mastering Database Programming with VB, VB Developer's Guide to ADO, XML Developer's Handbook, and VB Developer's Guide to E-Commerce.

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Read an Excerpt

ASP, ADO, and XML Complete


John Wiley & Sons

ISBN: 0-7821-2971-4


Chapter One


The Microsoft Toolset

Choosing the right tools to build your Web site is, of course, a critical step. There are turnkey outsource solutions, such as Delphi.com, that you can utilize to add functionality to your Web site. There are also third-party development packages you can utilize as well for adding features to your site.

You most likely wouldn't be reading this book unless you were interested in doing a little programming of your own! The Visual Basic language is a key tool in the community developer's arsenal. There are, however, many tools in the supporting cast that make up a successful Web site deployment. This chapter explores these tools and, of course, takes an in-depth look at the Visual Basic language and how it will be utilized.

The Toolset

The tools range from server software to programming languages to encryption technology. Each is critical in building the complete solution. An overview of each tool is given in this chapter along with a list of features that are critical for building a Web application. Don't worry if some of the terminology doesn't make sense yet. The rest of the book will cover programming basics in more detail.

Presently, Microsoft has taken on a new and significant initiative called .NET that seeks to fundamentally change the way Web development is done. The following sections focus on the core NT/2000 tools that are currently available and examine where Microsoft is headed down the road.

Microsoft Windows NT/2000

The Windows NT/2000 platform is the foundation for building a Visual Basic programmed solution. It provides the core Web server, security, TCP/IP functionality, and other fundamental requirements for a Web server operating system. Table 1.1 discusses the key features for building a Web application.

It is important that Windows is set up properly to ensure security integrity, scalability, and other key issues. Certainly there are differences between the Windows NT and Windows 2000 platforms. Some of the core tools, such as SQL Server, IIS, Active Server Pages (ASP), and so on, are significantly enhanced on the Windows 2000 platform. Windows 2000 also offers more server-side software options for managing your Web site. From a coding development standpoint, however, the work is pretty much the same. The code developed in this book for both SQL Server and ASP will work on either platform.

Internet Information Server

IIS is the Web server that is provided with Windows NT/2000. The latest version on NT is IIS 4.0 and is provided with the Windows NT Option Pack. Windows 2000 comes with IIS 5.0. Table 1.2 gives an overview of the key features of IIS.

IIS provides the basic Web server functionality required to serve Web pages. IIS 5.0 has its underpinnings significantly enhanced to be more scalable and stable, but provides the same basic services. The biggest changes for the developer are found in the implementation of ASP.

Active Server Pages/Visual InterDev

The heart of the toolset for building our applications is the ASP component of IIS. Combine that with the Visual InterDev development tool for creating Web pages, working with SQL Server, and building e-commerce applications. Table 1.3 reviews the key features of ASP.

Significant enhancements to the ASP environment in IIS 5.0 are outlined in Table 1.4.

In IIS 5.0, Microsoft has focused significantly on the performance of aspects of ASP to improve its scalability. In general, they have tuned IIS 5.0 for overall performance. There have been some enhancements for easier coding, with the major change being the capability to compile scripts into COM objects.

Visual InterDev is a key tool for designing Web applications and can be used for the code samples listed throughout this book. It is our primary development environment for building our Active Server Pages-based applications. Table 1.5 provides an overview of the key features of Visual InterDev.


NOTE See the Microsoft.NET section later in this chapter to get a peek at what is coming in Visual Studio.NET 7.0.

Visual InterDev combined with ASP provides the Microsoft primary programming toolset for Web-based applications. The toolset has been a successful combination that many Web sites are built upon and provides the core tools for the functionality built in this book.

SQL Server

As critical to community building as programming is, even more critical is the database. Without a database to store messages, polls, profiles, and much more, there would be no community at all. Microsoft SQL Server provides a robust development platform for building multi-tier Web applications. You can place as much or as little logic in the database tier as needed. If you are running a multi-server Web farm, then partitioning the client, Web server, and database tier become crucial to ensuring solid performance and balancing server load.

SQL Server can be configured for different security levels, segmentation with replication, programming logic in stored procedures, and so on. With Microsoft's ActiveX Data Objects (ADO) and an OLE DB provider (or ODBC), you can connect from nearly any Microsoft development tool and interface with the underlying database.


NOTE Microsoft Access can be used as the database for your site. For a Web site that is going to get any kind of extensive traffic, however, a robust scalable database such as SQL Server should be used.

There are three versions of SQL Server still in primary use by developers. SQL Server 6.5 was the first robust version to run on Windows NT 4.0. That was followed by SQL Server 7, which provided a significant revamp of the core infrastructure and greatly increased functionality and scalability. The newest version is SQL Server 2000, which requires Windows 2000. The SQL Script code developed in this book should work on any of these versions and, with a little work, can be ported to other popular enterprise SQL-based database servers.

In this book, Microsoft SQL Server will be used as the database behind the functionality.


NOTE We assume that you are familiar with setting up and creating SQLServer databases. If you are unfamiliar with this technology, you might want to check out Sybex's Mastering SQL Server 2000, by Mike Gunderloy and Joseph L. Jorden.

Visual Basic 6

While ASP provides a powerful environment for server-based Web applications in itself through the scripting languages it exposes, it can be further enhanced by the use of compiled code written in a language such as Visual Basic. There are multiple ways in which you can interface from Visual Basic to the Internet, as explored in Table 1.6.

This book primarily focuses on building applications in Visual Inter- Dev with Active Server Pages. There might be times, though, when you will want to consider using Visual Basic as part of your Web development arsenal. Usually that is when you need to build complex logic that isn't possible in a scripting context. Often this logic is encapsulated in a COM object and can be used both on the Internet and in a client/server context. You can also use Visual Basic to create your own reusable ASP components. Part IV covers this process in more detail.

Table 1.7 outlines some of the different situations in which you might want to use Visual Basic.

The good news is that the Visual Basic developer has options for what implementation of Visual Basic to use and can "right-size" the solution appropriately.

Microsoft Site Server 3.0

Microsoft's Site Server 3.0 is the big gun in Microsoft's arsenal for developing extended community and e-commerce applications. Site Server 3.0 provides a number of tools, including the core programming environment for directory level security, site personalization, membership tracking, site log file analysis, staging and development server support, and much more. With this toolset that is built on an ASP programming foundation and SQL Server, high-end, feature-rich Web sites can be built. Sample sites include those of Dell Computers (dell.com), Martha Stewart (MarthaStewart.com), and Ulla Popken (ullapopken.com).

In reality, it is important to point out that Site Server is primarily a framework of COM objects and applications that support the commerce and community processes. Table 1.8 gives an overview of the key feature set of Site Server, Commerce Edition. If your goal is to start out developing in Site Server, it is still important to understand all the concepts and programming techniques outlined in this book. If you are going to be building a significant e-commerce aspect to your site, then using Site Server 3.0, Commerce Edition (SSCE) will provide the commerce development foundation.

Commerce Server 2000

Microsoft's Commerce Server 2000 product for the Windows 2000 platform is the next generation of the Site Server product. Table 1.9 provides a breakdown of its main features.

There is certainly much more available in the product; for additional information, check out microsoft.com/CommerceServer/. Commerce Server 2000 is a significant overhaul of the Site Server platform, but it does require Windows 2000. Making a careful selection between Commerce Server 2000 and Site Server will have a significant impact on your development requirements down the road. Either way, both have significant features, especially in an e-commerce context, with which to build an application.

Secure Sockets Layer (SSL)/Verisign Certificates

Security on a Web site is crucial for securing private data-especially credit card data. On the management side, passwords and other business- critical data should be encrypted between the browser and the server.

IIS 4 supports SSL 3. There is a simple process for requesting a certificate on the server and then submitting the certificate request to an authority, such as Verisign (verisign.com). Once the certificate request is made, the keys will be sent back installed on the server.

Miscellaneous Tools

There are many other tools available for Internet development. Certainly many non-Microsoft tools are available for development on Windows NT or on any other operating system.

Table 1.10 reviews other Microsoft tools.

Microsoft continues to enhance and hone its overall product offering for the Internet. Which Microsoft or third-party solutions you use will greatly depend on the scope and scale of the Web application you are building. The next section takes a look at Microsoft's much-promoted .NET initiative.

Microsoft .NET

In mid-1999, Microsoft announced a significant shift in its Internet strategy, called .NET. Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer likened it to the decision to move from DOS to Windows, or when Microsoft made its infamous Internet strategy shift in the 1990s. It is important to understand that this isn't a shift that happens overnight. It will be a progression over many years.

The expansiveness of the .NET strategy touches nearly every piece of software that Microsoft produces, which is a bit beyond the scope of this book to explain. For more information, check out microsoft.com/net/.

For developers, there are significant initiatives that need to be considered. Table 1.11 outlines some of the highlights.

Extensible Markup Language (XML)

Woven throughout the .NET platform is XML for data sharing. XML is a meta-markup language that provides a format for describing structured data. This facilitates more precise declarations of content and more meaningful search results across multiple platforms. XML enables Web-based data viewing and manipulation applications.

In XML you can define an unlimited set of tags. While HTML tags can be used to display a word in bold or italic, XML provides a framework for tagging structured data. An XML element can declare its associated data to be a retail price, a sales tax, a book title, the amount of precipitation, or any other desired data. With XML there is the capability to search for and manipulate data regardless of the applications within which it is found. Once data has been located, it can be presented in a browser, such as Internet Explorer, in any number of ways, or it can be handed off to other applications for further processing and viewing. More information can be found at msdn.microsoft.com/xml/.

The goal of this book is to explore the development techniques behind building robust Web applications. This will be primarily done through the use of VBScript code created in Visual InterDev and SQL code in Microsoft SQL Server.

Browsers

There are two primary browsers used on the Internet. The first is Netscape Navigator (or Communicator) 6.x, and the second is Internet Explorer 5.x; Figures 1.1 and 1.2 show the two browsers, respectively. Even though Internet Explorer has seen strong growth in use, Netscape is still a significant player in the marketplace.

Both browsers support standard HTML and some extended features, such as cascading style sheets, dynamic HTML, and JavaScript. The only thing you can be sure will work in both, however, is standard HTML. Even then, the visual rendering might be a little different in each.

Trying to design a truly unique and advanced interface on the client side can be tricky when trying to ensure support in both browsers. Even if you decide to build two different interfaces for those two browsers, you still have issues of supporting smaller segment browsers, such as earlier versions, specialized browsers, and so on.

This book does not explore the difficult issues of cross-browser development of client-side JavaScript, etc. In certain cases, this book will offer some specific development with VBScript on the client side in Internet Explorer.


NOTE For more information on building client-side browser-based applications, see the following books: Mastering JavaScript and JScript by James Jaworski (Sybex, 1999), Visual Basic Developer's Guide to ASP and IIS by A. Russell Jones (Sybex, 1999), and Mastering Visual Basic 6 by Evangelos Petroutsos (Sybex, 1998).

What's Next?

The Microsoft platform provides a rich Internet development environment. At its core are the SQL Server database and the Visual Basic Script programming environment. Careful planning based on the size and scope of your site will help to determine what additional tools you'll need. In the next chapter, we'll cover Visual Basic in more detail, as well as define some of the fundamental concepts and terminology used in building a Web-based application.

(Continues...)



Excerpted from ASP, ADO, and XML Complete Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Table of Contents

Introduction.

Part i Programming Essentials.

Chapter 1: The Microsoft Toolset.

Chapter 2: Visual Basic and the Web.

Chapter 3: Web Applications and ASP.

Chapter 4: Introduction to VBScript.

Chapter 5: Introduction to JScript.

Part ii: Beginning ASP.

Chapter 6: IIS Applications.

Chapter 7: Introduction to ASP Applications.

Chapter 8: Building ASP Applications.

Chapter 9: State Maintenance in ASP Applications.

Chapter 10: Sample Application.

Part iii: Database Development.

Chapter 11: Database Access: Architectures and Technologies.

Chapter 12: Basic Concepts of Relational Databases.

Chapter 13: Introduction to Relational Databases and SQL.

Chapter 14: Exploring Data from Visual Basic.

Chapter 15: ADO 2.5 for Web Developers.

Part iv: Advanced ASP and WebClasses.

Chapter 16: Client-Side Scripting.

Chapter 17: Building Your Own Components.

Chapter 18: Planning Applications.

Part v: XML.

Chapter 19: Using XML/XSL with ASP.

Chapter 20: XML and ASP.

Chapter 21: XML and MS Databases.

Chapter 22: E-Commerce with MS BizTalk.

Part vi: Building Real-World Web Applications.

Chapter 23: Building the User Interface.

Chapter 24: Making a Basket Case.

Chapter 25: On Sale.

Chapter 26: Discussion Forums.

Index.

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