Sams Teach Yourself Active Server Pages 3.0 in 21 Days / Edition 1

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The friendly, tutorial style of Sams Teach Yourself Active Server Pages 3.0 in 21 Days empowers you to create your own Active Server Pages quickly and easily. Using client-proven methods, and his award-winning advice to Web developers from around the world, ASP master Scott Mitchell provides you with an understanding of ASP and IIS fundamentals, and guides you through the use of VBScript and ASP's built-in objects, enabling you to create your own dynamic, database-driven Web solutions. You'll benefit from Scott's expert knowledge of topics including creating dynamic content, interacting with the user, reading and writing files on the Web server, creating personalized content with cookies, reading a database using ASP, and debugging your ASP scripts.

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Editorial Reviews

This volume provides tutorials intended to assist readers in learning Active Server Pages 3.0 (ASP 3.0) using 21 "days" or lessons. Mitchell, a professional Web developer, and Atkinson, a programmer, mathematician, and journalist, include information about how to use ASP 3.0 to build Web sites, connect them to databases, collect user input and process forms, discover error handling and debugging, and to write SQL statements to add database driven content on these sites. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780672318634
  • Publisher: Sams
  • Publication date: 2/9/2000
  • Series: Sams Teach Yourself Series
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 700
  • Product dimensions: 7.40 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Scott Mitchell is a professional web developer and the brains behind, a popular online resource for ASP programmers and the 1998 ASP Website of the Year. A master of ASP and related technologies, Scott provides technical articles and advice to developers from around the world. As a consultant, Scott has built 3-tier solutions using Active Server Pages and other technologies for clients large and small, and most recently was contracted by Microsoft as a Software Engineer for the Office Release group.

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Read an Excerpt

Day 1: Getting Started with Active Server Pages

Active Server Pages are Microsoft's solution to creating dynamic Web pages. With the explosion of the Internet and the World Wide Web into our everyday lives, Web site creation is quickly becoming one of the fastest growing sectors.

In the early days of the World Wide Web, Web site design consisted primarily of creating fancy graphics and nice-looking, easy-to-read Web pages. As today's Web sites have become user interactive, the steps in Web site design have changed. Although creating a pleasant-looking Web site is still important, the primary focus has shifted from graphical design to programmatic design. For example, imagine that you wanted to create a Web site from which you could sell widgets. The programmatic design, creating the Web pages that will collect and store user billing information, for example, is more pressing than deciding what background color to use.

Enter Active Server Pages. If you need to build a dynamic Web site-one that can interact with users-Active Server Pages are an easy-to-use solution. Today, you take your first step into the world of Active Server Pages!

Today, you will learn the following:

  • What Active Server Pages (ASP) are
  • When Active Server Pages need to be used in place of static HTML files
  • How ASP differs from client-side scripting
  • What software is required to serve ASP pages from a computer
  • How to install Microsoft's Internet Information Server and Microsoft's Personal Web Server
  • How to run ASP pages on a non-Microsoft Web server
  • Howpage

What Are Active Server Pages?

Over the past couple of years, we have seen some major changes concerning the Internet. Initially, the Internet served as a medium for members of government and education institutions to communicate. With the advent of the World Wide Web, the Internet became a multimedia, user-friendly environment. Originally, the Internet served as a place for enthusiasts to create personal home pages, but as more people began going "online," the Internet transformed into an informational resource for the common man. When the number of people online reached a critical mass, companies that sold products and services began to spring up. These companies had no physical presence, only a virtual one. For example, you can buy a book from's Internet site, but you won't be able to find an bookstore in your neighborhood.

As the Internet has matured into a viable marketplace, Web site design has changed in step. In the early days of the World Wide Web, HTML was used to create static Web pages. Today, though, static Web pages are quickly becoming obsolete. Imagine if was composed of nothing but static Web pages-you couldn't search its inventory; you couldn't place an order online; you couldn't read other users' comments. It is a safe bet that wouldn't sell many books if it didn't use dynamic Web pages.

You can create dynamic Web pages in many ways. Microsoft's solution to building dynamic Web pages is through the use of Active Server Pages, commonly abbreviated ASP

Note:Many large Web sites use Active Server Pages to serve dynamic Web content. For example,,, and use Active Server Pages to build their interactive, dynamic Web sites.

Active Server Pages contain two parts: programmatic code and embedded HTML. The programmatic code can be written in a number of scripting languages.

New Term: A scripting language is a particular syntax used to execute commands on a computer.

A program composed of commands from a particular scripting language is referred to as a script.

Some popular Web-related scripting languages include VBScript and JavaScript. When creating an ASP page, you can use one of four programming languages:

  • VBScript-Similar to Visual Basic's syntax, the most commonly used scripting language for Active Server Pages
  • JScript-Similar to JavaScript
  • PerlScript-Similar to Pert
  • Python-A powerful scripting language commonly used for Web development

Most ASP pages are created using VBScript. VBScript has the most English-like syntax of the four scripting languages and is similar to Visual Basic's syntax, which many Web developers have experience with.

Note: Throughout this book, we will present examples using VBScript.

Recall that an ASP page can contain embedded HTML. This allows for existing static Web pages to be easily converted into dynamic ASP pages. Finally, an ASP page must contain an . ASP extension.

Understanding the Client-Server Model

Have you ever wondered what, exactly, happens when you type a URL into your browser's Address window? The Internet operates on a client-server model.

New Term: In a client-server model, two computers work together to perform a task. A client computer requests s computer. The server returns this information, and the client acts on it.

Many everyday activities mimic the client-server model. For example, a map at a large mall performs the role of the server, whereas those strolling through the mall are the clients. If one of these clients wants to know how to reach Sears, he would consult this map, requesting a particular piece of information-namely, "How do I get to Sears from here?" After the client (the mall shopper) has received the information from the server (the map), he leaves, headed in the correct direction. The client-server model typically has many more clients than servers. For example, many mall shoppers are requesting information from just a few maps spread throughout the mall.

The Internet runs on a client-server model as well. With the Internet, the server is a particular Web server.

Note: A Web server is a computer that contains all the Web pages for a particular Web site and has special software installed to send these Web pages to Web browsers that request them.

The client, on the Internet, is a Web browser. When you visit a static Web page through a Web browser, the following steps occur:

1. The client (the Web browser) locates the Web server specified by the first part of the URL (

2. The client then requests the static Web page specified by the second part of the URL (/index.htm).

3. The Web server sends the contents of that particular file to the client in HTML format.

4. The client receives the HTML sent by the server and renders it for you, the user.

In this transaction, the Web server acts passively, like the mall map in the previous example. around idly, waiting for a client to request a static Web page. After such a page is requested, the Web server sends that page to the client and then returns to idly wait for the next request. With this series of steps, only static Web pages can be sent to the client. To allow for dynamic Web pages, the Web server must playa more active role...

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Table of Contents

Week 1: At a Glance
Day 1: Getting Started with Active Server Pages
Day 2: Dissecting Your First ASP Script
Day 3: Working with Variables
Day 4: Understanding VBScript Control Structures
Day 5: Using VBScript's Built-in Functions
Day 6: Working with Objects
Day 7: Using the Response Object
Week 1: In Review
Week 2: At a Glance
Day 8: Communicating with the User
Day 9: Collecting the Form Information
Day 10: Working with the Request Object
Day 11: Maintaining Persistent Information on the Web
Day 12: Working with Common ASP Components
Day 13: Reading and Writing Files on the Web Server
Day 14: Debugging Your ASP Scripts and Handling Errors
Week 2: In Review
Week 3: At a Glance
Day 15: Using Databases
Day 16: Reading from a Database Using ASP
Day 17: Inserting, Updating, and Deleting Database Records
Day 18: Examining the Recordset Object
Day 19: Using SQL Statements to Query Data
Day 20: Using Advanced Database Techniques
Day 21: Practicing Intelligent Application Design
Week 3: In Review
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Over the next 21 days, you will learn how to create dynamic Web pages using Microsoft's Active Server Pages. With the Internet becoming a central part of both business and pleasure, there is high demand today for developers who can create data-driven Web sites. The following 21 days' lessons will teach you everything you need to know to create your own interactive Web sites utilizing Active Server Pages technology.

Active Server Pages allows for powerful Web site creation by combining programmatic code with standard HTML. If you've never written a program before, you will successfully learn how to program using VBScript, the most commonly used Active Server Pages programming language.

Each of the 21 days is presented in a tutorial style that focuses on both theory and application. When a new topic is presented, the theory and background behind the topic are discussed first. Then real-world examples, accompanied by code, are examined. Commonly asked questions about the day's topics are addressed. At the end of each day's lesson, questions and exercises are presented to allow you to test your mastery of the topic before moving on.

The first seven lessons-Week 1-introduce you to Active Server Pages and VBScript, as well as important programming concepts. Week 2 looks at creating Web pages whose output is based on user input. Week 3 looks at databases and how your pages can use them to store and retrieve information. At the end of each week, you'll find a Bonus Project in the Week-in-Review section, which ties together the material learned throughout the week into a complete, real-world application.

As with most computer topics, much more information about ASP is availablethan you need to know in most real-world situations. The 21 days' tutorials strive to present as complete a picture as possible while focusing on the aspects of Active Server Pages used most in the real world. Such topics will be covered in detail, with numerous code examples. The exercises at the end of each hour-long day provide a chance for you to get your feet wet with the topics covered in the day's lesson. We think you'll find a nice balance between theory and application, with added focus on the topics and problems that most Active Server Pages developers face.

With the explosive growth of the Internet in our everyday lives, being able to create dynamic, user-responsive Web sites is one of the most in-demand technical skills. Not only is the dynamic Web site design market a hot one, but it is also a fun and interesting one! This book will serve as your guide to this exciting field, teaching you the ins and outs of Active Server Pages programming and data-driven Web site design.

If you're ready and excited to learn Active Server Pages, this book is for you! Whether you are a hobbyist or a professional, Sams Teach Yourself Active Server Pages 3.0 in 21 Days will provide the background needed to program just about any Active Server Pages application.

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Customer Reviews

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 1, 2006

    great book for beginner to pro

    One of the best programming books I have ever read. Easy to understand and has a lot of in depth coverage. I liked using Sams ASP in 24hours to jump start me for my work and used this bigger book to get a better understanding.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 2, 2005

    Recommend highly if you are looking to understand ASP well

    The time frame was great for me to pace myself and it was reasonable for a first timmer to ASP... The material is easy to understand for almost everybody. I thought the book was a great way to transition from a beginner to Pro in ASP. If you need to program in ASP in a week, I recommend reading 'Sams ASP in 24 hours' and then read the details through this book...

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 5, 2001

    Not much intermediate information

    I was hoping to get a book that would take me from being an ASP newbie (having had programs like Drumbeat write ASP for me) to being an intermediate developer. I found some the topics covered to be strictly for beginners. While I did find some use for the database information, they don't cover many other practical problems like sending e-mail (using CDONT's) which are relatively simple to learn.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 25, 2000

    Great Book, step by step instruction

    This book was very helpful. I went from knowing nothing about ASP to being a confident developer. A CD with the source code would've been nice, however it is all available online. It's step by step approach was logical and easy to follow. The authors enthusiasm for the topic really helps grip the reader.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 21, 2000

    Great Starter for ASP

    This book is a must for anyone wanting to learn ASP. It goes over basics as well as some advanced ASP topics.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 19, 2000

    Really great and informative!

    This was a really terrific book. It explained everything very clearly and in detail(but not too much detail!), and showed all examples. I had tried ASP for Dummies, and was very unimpressed, but this was great!

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