What Is ASP?

With all of the acronyms floating around the web, ASP might seem like just another development language. On the contrary, it is a hugely powerful database tool which, during its heyday, was in use by most major corporate sites.

What is ASP? The letters stand for Active Server Page. ASP is a way for the server to make decisions, get data, and then send the results down to the end user. The end user never sees any of those calculations or instructions. They just get the end result – a perfectly formed HTML document.

For practical purposes, ASP is primary used as a database access language, which allows you to quickly and easily get at information in a database. You can have an inventory page update with the latest items to sell, with current pricing and photographs. You can have your counters track up-to-the-second, creating reports that are truly current. You can create rotating ads, contests, bulletin boards, and much, much more.

ASP is not separate from HTML. You do not need to ‘choose’ whether to make your pages in ASP or HTML. Instead, ASP is code you add TO a webpage in order for it to perform functions.

For those who know what PHP is, ASP is in essence the Microsoft version of PHP. ASP only runs natively on Microsoft machines.

Some of the ASP functions are invisible. For example, you might put counter code into your pages to track page hits in a database for easy reporting. The end user will never see this activity unless you choose to display it.

Other types of ASP functions are meant to be seen. You can show your latest eBook offerings, or dynamically rotate ads to keep them fresh and interesting. The end user would see the results of what the ASP had done.

Because databases are optimized for record retrieval, it is faster to search out entries or to update entries in a database compared with doing the same in a base file. This is where ASP shines when compared to similar operations in JavaScript or Java.

If you’re looking to create dynamic pages, you’ve come to the right place? Start in the beginners area, and start learning about this fun and fantastic language!

It’s worth it to note that ASP has now been “improved” to have an ASP.NET version. This course here, and indeed this entire website, is about the original form of ASP – now called ASP Classic.

This page is lesson one in my free ASP Classic Course. Click below to enjoy the full course from start to finish!

Free Online ASP Course