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Friday, May 14, 2010

ASP.NET Introduction

What You Should Already Know

Before you continue you should have a basic understanding of the following:

  • WWW, HTML, XML and the basics of building Web pages
  • Scripting languages like JavaScript or VBScript
  • The basics of server side scripting like ASP or PHP

If you want to study these subjects first, find the tutorials on our Home Page

What is Classic ASP?

Microsoft's previous server side scripting technology ASP (Active Server Pages) is now often called classic ASP.

ASP 3.0 was the last version of classic ASP.

To learn more about classic ASP, you can study our ASP tutorial.


ASP.NET is the next generation ASP, but it's not an upgraded version of ASP.

ASP.NET is an entirely new technology for server-side scripting. It was written from the ground up and is not backward compatible with classic ASP.

You can read more about the differences between ASP and ASP.NET in the next chapter of this tutorial.

ASP.NET is the major part of the Microsoft's .NET Framework.

What is ASP.NET?

ASP.NET is a server side scripting technology that enables scripts (embedded in web pages) to be executed by an Internet server.

  • ASP.NET is a Microsoft Technology
  • ASP stands for Active Server Pages
  • ASP.NET is a program that runs inside IIS
  • IIS (Internet Information Services) is Microsoft's Internet server
  • IIS comes as a free component with Windows servers
  • IIS is also a part of Windows 2000 and XP Professional

What is an ASP.NET File?

  • An ASP.NET file is just the same as an HTML file
  • An ASP.NET file can contain HTML, XML, and scripts
  • Scripts in an ASP.NET file are executed on the server
  • An ASP.NET file has the file extension ".aspx"

How Does ASP.NET Work?

  • When a browser requests an HTML file, the server returns the file
  • When a browser requests an ASP.NET file, IIS passes the request to the ASP.NET engine on the server
  • The ASP.NET engine reads the file, line by line, and executes the scripts in the file
  • Finally, the ASP.NET file is returned to the browser as plain HTML

What is ASP+?

ASP+ is the same as ASP.NET.

ASP+ is just an early name used by Microsoft when they developed ASP.NET.

The Microsoft .NET Framework

The .NET Framework is the infrastructure for the Microsoft .NET platform.

The .NET Framework is an environment for building, deploying, and running Web applications and Web Services.

Microsoft's first server technology ASP (Active Server Pages), was a powerful and flexible "programming language". But it was too code oriented. It was not an application framework and not an enterprise development tool.

The Microsoft .NET Framework was developed to solve this problem.

.NET Frameworks keywords:

  • Easier and quicker programming
  • Reduced amount of code
  • Declarative programming model
  • Richer server control hierarchy with events
  • Larger class library
  • Better support for development tools

The .NET Framework consists of 3 main parts:

Programming languages:

  • C# (Pronounced C sharp)
  • Visual Basic (VB .NET)
  • J# (Pronounced J sharp)

Server technologies and client technologies:

  • ASP .NET (Active Server Pages)
  • Windows Forms (Windows desktop solutions)
  • Compact Framework (PDA / Mobile solutions)

Development environments:

  • Visual Studio .NET (VS .NET)
  • Visual Web Developer

This tutorial is about ASP.NET.


ASP.NET 2.0 improves upon ASP.NET by adding support for several new features.

You can read more about the differences between ASP.NET 2.0 and ASP.NET in the next chapter of this tutorial.


ASP.NET 3.0 is not a new version of ASP.NET. It's just the name for a new ASP.NET 2.0 framework library with support for Windows Presentation Foundation, Windows Communication Foundation, Windows Workflow Foundation; and Windows CardSpace.

ASP.NET 3.0 is not covered in this tutorial.


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