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What is ASP.Net?

By , 26th November 2007 in C#

ASP platform for building scalable websites using the .Net framework. ASP is the successor to ASP 2.0 and makes use of the .Net platform to integrate data and controls on web forms and enables information to be sent via the Internet.

Active Server Pages enable the construction of dynamic content that can access server resources, such as a database. They allow data to be sent to a client and also data to be received. All processing is done on the server, so the requirements of the client can be very low. XML Web Services (covered separately) enable applications to run over the Internet.

ASP.Net content is browser independent, meaning that pages will render the same under Internet Explorer, Firefox, Opera or Safari, and they are language independent.

ASP.Net Execution Model

ASP.Net pages are stored as text files on the server, however when the page is accessed they are compiled to MSIL so that the C# and .Net framework can be run in the CLR. To improve performance, ASP.Net uses output caching to prevent pages being compiled and executed unnecessarily.

The .Net Platform and Code Distribution
The .Net Platform and Code Distribution

File Extension Types

ASP.Net has a few different source code file extensions:

  • ASP.Net Web Forms (.aspx)
  • ASP.Net Web Services (.asmx)
  • Classes and code-behind (.vb or .cs)
  • Global application classes (.asax)
  • web.config file
  • Project assembly (.dll)

Web forms are contain the dynamic content and html elements of the page, and the code behind is the C# code that generates the data, accesses databases and so on. The project assembly contains the C# code compiled into executable form for faster performance. The web.config contains settings for the application.

Common controls

Because of the common type system of the .Net Framework the server classes and controls that you use in a web form are the same controls and classes that you would use in a Windows forms application. This allows for greater code re-use between Windows forms developers and web forms developers. It also makes it easier to migrate existing Windows applications to web based forms and web services. We will look at some of the controls in a future tutorial when we will construct simple web forms.

Test environment

Visual Studio and Visual Web Developer both come with a limited version of IIS (Internet Information Services) that can be used for local connections only. It will allow you to deveop and test web sites and servers on a local machine using the loopback interface, but it will not accept connections from external machines so you will need a IIS server to deploy on to.


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