WWW FAQs: What are ASP and ASP.NET?

2007-12-05: ASP (Active Server Pages) and ASP.NET are server-side dynamic web programming languages. Webmasters use them to extend their web sites by communicating with databases, collecting form submissions from users, and generating content on the fly. ASP and ASP.NET offer capabilities similar to PHP. Unlike PHP, ASP and ASP.NET are products of Microsoft. You can find Microsoft's official "portal site" for ASP.NET programmers at www.asp.net.

"How are ASP and ASP.NET different?"

ASP was Microsoft's original server-side web programming language, based on their earlier Visual BASIC language. ASP.NET is part of Microsoft's new family of ".NET" programming languages, which are thoroughly object-oriented and substantially different from what went before. Since Microsoft strongly recommends ASP.NET over ASP, I do not recommend starting new projects in ASP.

Bear in mind that all server-side dynamic web programming languages are the same as far as the end user is concerned. That's because what ultimately reaches the web browser is just HTML anyway. That means you can build your site in PHP (which is available for free server operating systems like Linux) and reach just as many people as you would with an ASP.NET site. So use the language that works best for you and your client.

Legal Note: yes, you may use sample HTML, Javascript, PHP and other code presented above in your own projects. You may not reproduce large portions of the text of the article without our express permission.

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