Designing Active Server Pages
Scott Mitchell's Guide to Writing Reusable Code
Publisher: O'Reilly Media
Final Release Date: September 2000
Pages: 368

Developers of Active Server Pages often reinvent the wheel. Their background in web design, with its separate HTML page for each viewable web page on a site, leads many ASP developers to create a distinct ASP page each time they think they need one. Often times, these pages are functionally similar. With intelligent planning, an ASP developer stands to save a great deal of time by creating reusable ASP pages.Designing Active Server Pages is tailor-made for these developers.There is currently a plethora of Active Server Pages books. However, the vast majority of these books are either technical references or how-to books for beginners. Designing Active Server Pages is written for the intermediate to advanced user. Furthermore, nearly every other book on ASP focuses on using VBScript, even though ASP supports an array of scripting languages, including JScript and PerlScript. Designing Active Server Pages shows how to start using these other languages.The latest version of the scripting engines (Version 5.1 for VBScript) adds new features not available before the 5.0 release. These features include class support for VBScript, and Regular Expression searching through the use of a COM object. Designing Active Server Pages explains why using classes in VBScript is beneficial, and demonstrates the power of regular expression searching.This book shows how to simplify the process by only requiring one ASP page to handle ALL of the Forms throughout a web site, thus reducing the amount of code one has to write.Topics include:

  • Using various Microsoft and third-party components to enhance ASP pages
  • Creating components using VB and/or VC++
  • Sample code for performing routine ASP tasks
  • Techniques to allow for reusable database scripts on the database system and on ASP pages
  • How to obtain and register third-party components, thus saving massive amounts of time by reusing someone else's code
Designing Active Server Pages is for developers who have already mastered the basics of ASP application development and are ready to take the next logical step. It is sure to become an indispensable part of every web developer's library.
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3.8

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4.0

Designing Active Server Pages Review

By Kevin Lloyd

from Undisclosed

Comments about oreilly Designing Active Server Pages:

For interested readers, refering to my earlier review. The bugs referred to are in the example 6.14 property let statements... look at the parameters passed in and how they are used. Some are bugs (compile errors) while the others are logical (the index and value are transposed and in some cases the value is being set to same as key).

On implementing the bug fixes I can conclude that the book (specifically the chapter on reuse) has been a valuable resource and I recommend it.

Level: Intermediate (some coding skills).

Remember: When you are new to something you tend to take what is read as gospel. Question everything! Books contains mistakes and in any case are biased towards the authors own experience. Explore the alternatives and even if you find that you agree with the author, you will be richer for the experience.

 
4.0

Designing Active Server Pages Review

By Kevin Lloyd

from Undisclosed

Comments about oreilly Designing Active Server Pages:

All in all a good read, well presented and not too much jargon. I am new to the WEB (late starter) but have several years experience of VB. I particularly liked the chapter on reuse and on principle would encourage this approach. That said, I first tried lifting the example code from the book as I was digesting the chapter. At the end I created the necessary database to test the code. I have to say that most of it worked without issue, however, it does not appear to be complete. For example, I added some form hints (field descriptions) but these were not propogated to admin pages as expected. I even downloaded the zip files from the O'Reilly site. The end results were the same.

As I say, I come from a VB background so was comfortable with the amount of VBScript within and the programatic approach but am dissapointed with the end result.

Perhaps a little more testing of the examples would prevail. Meanwhile it will prove good exercise to debug the examples myself.

 
3.0

Designing Active Server Pages Review

By Mark Davey

from Undisclosed

Comments about oreilly Designing Active Server Pages:

Sadly the author is clearly under the impression that ASP 'code' is only ever written by WebDesigners who have no interest in software engineering. As a result the complete obsession with VBScript is extremely disappointing.

Most real engineers who develop any form of application are not so short sighted. Indeed, most Web Application people I know, positively refuse to use VBScript. A more general and considered approach to accomodating JavaScript (or at a push JScript) would take this book from being useful to invaluable.

It is also a little thin on detail - but the information that is there is useful or in most cases at least thought-provoking.

What is lacking is perhaps the overall concept and design philosophy of larger scale ASP Applications. We all know about 'administrator' pages - these are never very interesting or involved (but good cases for reuse as is demonstrated). The real tricks are the user front ends where such tricks are far more difficult to make generic.

There is also little consideration for performance, and the problem of catering for the 56K'rs in the world. Whilst Broadband/T3 development is commonplace, adopting such involved measures does significantly affect the 'web application experience'. Scott does not seem to care. (Maybe in five years, and we all have at least broadband this is acceptable...)

I would recommend this book on the basis it extends the information boundaries but would not recommend this to a beginner!

 
3.0

Designing Active Server Pages Review

By Neil Gow

from Undisclosed

Comments about oreilly Designing Active Server Pages:

This is not really a reference book (I seem to have so many from O'reilly) so over time it has moved to the bottom of the pile, although when I do the last 100 pages are always worth a reread.

It explains and provides good examples of a technique of reuse that a Developer using ASP may have considered and have seen discussed on the Web. The technique is described in much greater detail though with lots of good examples which come together nicely and as such saved me a great deal of time in understanding the approach and its pitfalls/strengths.

The reason I do not think the book rates a higher rating is that it avoids some nasty questions, for example form validation at client and server are covered, but a disadvantage (malicious users p.120) is mentioned that negates the possibility of using the validation technique in the real world. It was disappointing that this was not addressed by providing a more practical solution, to the book's credit it was highlighted clearly.

Overall, a book I found easy to read, informative and at times enlightening.

 
5.0

Designing Active Server Pages Review

By Robert Porter

from Undisclosed

Comments about oreilly Designing Active Server Pages:

As usual it is unnecessary to look beyond O'Reilly's titles when looking for quality treatment of any given subject. I found the book to have an excellent signal to noise ratio. Well worth a buy! I particularly liked Scott Mitchell's approach to structured reuse. I thought he presented the topics clearly and with an excellent amount of detail, not the usual trivial examples and manual rehashes we all see too often.

I am fairly new to ASP but had an extensive general programming background and about three years of non ASP releated web development. The book was targeted right at my level, enough background where necessary but it was NOT a beginners book in terms of depth.

I would not hesitate to recommend this book to anyone building or trying to build serious ASP based applications. It is going to be required reading for my team!

Cheers,

Robert Porter

First Union National Bank - Strategic Solutions Group

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