Microsoft's ASP (Active Server Pages), is a seriously over-hyped technology in my opinion. I'll soon note down my thoughts on why I think it is so here. None of these opinions reflect that of my employer's or my clients. Just mine alone.
At times, I've to work with ASP. There is some ASP stuff on my techbits section. As soon as I get some more time, I plan to write some Op-ed columns here. You can also download the zip file with server side browse code for images and files, for DHTML Editing Control. Or you can see an ASP version of the Printer-friendly formatting PHP script.
In the mean while:
- ASP is not very portable, though Chili!Soft has products for running ASP on Unix. My suggestion is to use ASP2PHP and convert your ASP scripts to PHP!
- There is a significant difference in managing large web sites and planning for it, AND attending a course on HTML with ASP and miniscule Access databases. There is quite a lot of talent available with experience in making sites with 5 ASP scripts and a 100KB Access database. Most of these guys seems to think that the principles (if any) they used for making these sites hold true for making sites with 5000 pages driven by 1GB database, if they switch from PWS to IIS and Access to SQL Server. Large database design is a complex subject and simple Access adventures just doesn't qualify one for it.
- ASP is a platform, not a language. Yeah right! For all practical (simple) purposes, you use VBScript. When you need to get something more advanced done, no problem, buy a COM object. Result is that standard Windows DLL hell makes a COM soup out of your web site. Yeah, with very rigorous version control systems and process control it is all nice. In reality, web doesn't give you time to find out which version of source corresponds to binary COM object, then compile it, install it (this is another story).
- WinNT/2000 is scalable, secure, stable and easy to use. I'm not getting into details of this, but if you point me to some Microsoft press releases to attest to these, I can send you to Sun or Linux sites to see their counter points. Personal experience tells me that I should not bet my money and reputation on a Windows server, yet.
- Microsoft is a large corporation, so you get support. I suppose you get it in the form of 25MB patches and new releases and as "feature" sets. I think Open Source products are far better off here, because you can fix things on your own or get solutions very quickly from news groups.
- ASP + COM + RDBMS makes a very good 3-tier architecture. As a matter of fact, many working and useful sites are made by people with no interest in 3-tier theories. Please do read Alex's & Philip's Guide to Web Publishing for a thorough analysis on this.
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