Active Server Pages Black Book
by Al Williams, Kim Barber and Paul Newkirk

Active Server Pages Black Book
Al Williams, Kim Barber and Paul Newkirk
Coriolis Group Books
805 pages (CD-ROM)
Before getting to Active Server Pages (or ASP) the book first takes a look at HTML in general, and the different client-scripting languages available. After a brief introduction to HTML, the first scripting language, VBScript is covered. All available objects, methods, and language constructs are explained. After VBScript, JScript is covered. JScript is the Microsoft implementation of JavaScript developed by Netscape. Differences between the two are shown in the chapter. Also all methods, objects and language constructs for JScript are explained. Dynamic HTML is the following topic. The document object model, stylesheets and more are covered.
And then it is time to take a look at ASP. ASP is a server-side scripting language for Microsoft Internet Information Server. After a introductionary chapter of ASP - explaining what ASP is, advantages and disadvantages - the authors explain the concept of an ASP application and how to build one with ActiveX Components and ActiveX Server Objects.
The next chapter covers the Microsoft Personalization System provided by Microsoft's Site Server program. Then the techniques covered so far are used in a case study. This case study is a good example of how to use the different techniques.
A lot of useful components are already available on the Web, but you can also write your own. In Chapter 13, Writing Your Own Server-Side Components, the authors use Visual Basic 5 to show us how to build a server-side component.
The for last chapter covers the building of client-side objects, like ActiveX controls (in VB5) and Java applets (in Microsoft Visual J++).
The book concludes with two appendices: Tips for using ASP, and Managing Microsoft IIS 4.
The authors appeal to the intermediate and advanced users, and this book will be useful for those already into web programming and writing, but not that familiar with ASP, and scripting. The authors explain every topic clearly and extensively. Every chapter concludes with a Practical Section. In these practical sections, real life examples are shown of how to use the techniques presented in the chapter. These examples are very useful, and give a lot of insight in using the techniques. A downside is the use of only Microsoft tools in the examples to create the examples, like VB5 and J++. If you are using another tool, you may not find what you want in the book. Because the authors use a lot of reference tables for the different scripting languages, the Document Object Model, Dynamic HTML, and the standard ActiveX Server Components, this book is a good reference manual if you want to start using these techniques.

Hubert Klein Ikkink

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