Introduction to ASP

Description: If you know what ASP is all about, your website could soon take on a whole new dimension. Read on to find out more.

While you may not have heard about ASP before, there is a very good chance you will have experienced what they can do, and how they can affect the way that a website works.

ASP stands for Active Server Pages, and they give a website the means to interact on a more personal level with anyone that views it. This is done by using an additional script to revise the information on the web page requested by a particular user, before sending it back out to be viewed on their computer.

This provides the interactive element, which can change for everyone who views the website. For example if you want the local time of each user to be displayed on your website when they visit it, active server pages can make this happen. All you need to do is insert the relevant piece of script in the right place on your web page (this script can be incorporated into a standard HTML document quite easily once you know how to do it).

The server will then receive the request from the visitor to view that particular page, insert the correct time depending on where the visitor is located in the world, and return the web page to them with that information showing.

This is a quite basic example of how ASP can alter the way your website interacts with each person, but it does illustrate the process quite well. If you currently have your website hosted with someone and you are thinking of adding in scripts like this to make your own site more interactive, be sure that you check whether or not your current server is compatible. If it isn't suitable you will need to swap to a package which allows active server pages to be used. It doesn't mean you will need to switch hosts however; always check before moving.

ASP offers real possibilities to the webmasters who really want to take it to its limits. You can create forms for visitors to fill in, have different pictures appearing when they click on different buttons on the menu, and many more options besides.

You can even maximise your advertising by adding in a script that will allow you to show a different advert every time a screen is refreshed. This means that instead of having a single chance of making a sale or getting a click through for every page, you could actually double your chances (or more) of this happening.

It's easy to be so enthused by what you could do with active server pages that you end up jumping in the deep end. It's actually a good idea to start by trying to do something relatively simple and going on from there. As you learn more about how the scripting is put together and how it interacts with the server (and fits into the HTML too) you will be better able to really take it to its limits.

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