Active Server Pages

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Active Server Pages (ASP), also known as Classic ASP or ASP Classic, was Microsoft's first server-side script-engine for dynamically-generated web pages. Initially released as an add-on to Internet Information Services (IIS) via the Windows NT 4.0 Option Pack (ca 1998), it was subsequently included as a free component of Windows Server (since the initial release of Windows 2000 Server). ASP.NET has superseded ASP.

ASP 2.0 provided six built-in objects: Application, ASPError, Request, Response, Server, and Session. Session, for example, represents a cookie-based session that maintains the state of variables from page to page. The Active Scripting engine's support of the Component Object Model (COM) enables ASP websites to access functionality in compiled libraries such as DLLs.

Web pages with the .asp file extension use ASP, although some web sites disguise their choice of scripting language for security purposes (e.g. still using the more common .htm or .html extension). Pages with the .aspx extension use compiled ASP.NET (based on Microsoft's .NET Framework), which makes them faster and more robust than server-side scripting in ASP, which is interpreted at run-time; however, ASP.NET pages may still include some ASP scripting. The introduction of ASP.NET led to use of the term Classic ASP for the original technology.

Programmers write most ASP pages using VBScript, but any other Active Scripting engine can be selected instead with the @Language directive or the <script language="language" runat="server"> syntax. JScript (Microsoft's implementation of ECMAScript) is the other language that is usually available. PerlScript (a derivative of Perl) and others are available as third-party installable Active Scripting engines.



Based on the dbWeb and iBasic tools created by Aspect Software Engineering, ASP was one of the first web application development environments that integrated web application execution directly into the web server, 9 months after the 1996 release of NeXT's (now Apple) WebObjects. This was done in order to achieve high performance compared to calling external executable programs or CGI scripts which were the most popular method for writing web applications at that time.

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