Active Server Pages (ASP)

Definition of Active Server Pages (ASP) in The Network Encyclopedia.

What is Active Server Pages (ASP)

An open, compile-free application environment for developing Web applications for Microsoft Internet Information Server (IIS) version 3.0 and later.

Microsoft Active Server Pages (ASP) can be used to build powerful, distributed Web-based applications that combine Hypertext Markup Language (HTML), script, and Microsoft ActiveX technologies to provide dynamic Web sites.

ASP combines the ease of HTML with familiar programming tools such as Microsoft Visual Basic Scripting Edition (VBScript) and Microsoft JScript, along with reusable Component Object Model (COM) components.

These components can be used to build powerful, dynamic Web sites. ASP executes on the Web server, and the output returned to the Web browser is a plain HTML file.

How Active Server Pages Works

A page created using ASP typically contains a mixture of HTML, scripts, and other components written in any programming language. When a client requests an ASP file, the scripts in the file are processed on the server.

The scripts can reference components running on either the local server or any other accessible server, and can perform actions such as accessing a database, sending e-mail, or processing information in another fashion. The result is then returned by the server to the client as a standard HTML file and displayed in the usual way.

For example, when requested, the following ASP file will return the current time and browser type to the requesting client:

For example, when requested, the following ASP file will return the current time and browser type to the requesting client:

<HTML>
<HEAD>
<TITLE>Sample Web Page</TITLE>
</HEAD>
<BODY>
The time right now is <% = now %>
Your browser type is
<% =Request.ServerVariables("http_user_agent")%>
</BODY>
</HTML>

You can use ASP to develop Web content that is customized for user preferences and demographics and that uses Microsoft ActiveX Data Objects (ADO) and open database connectivity (ODBC) to provide access to multiple data sources. ASP provides a browser-neutral approach to the design of Web applications where all of the application logic resides on the server.

ASP on IIS version 4.0 integrates with Microsoft Transaction Server (MTS), allowing ASP-based Web applications to take advantage of Transaction Server’s process isolation, scalability, and transaction programming model.

Unlike the stateless Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP), ASP is a session-based technology. When a user connects to an ASP file on a Web server, a session object is created. After the session expires, the session object is destroyed. The default time-out for ASP applications is 20 minutes, although Outlook Web Access uses a time-out of 60 minutes.
ASP is an acronym of Active Server pages.