Clear, Concise, Lucid Exploration of ASP in a Nutshell

Well crafted, comprehensive, easy read, covering Active Server Pages in effective detail, offering numerous insights.


Like most O’Rielly ‘Nutshell’ books, this one delivers great value. Providing effective coverage of ASP (Active Server Pages), logically organized, brief yet complete, this book is the map that all readers need to tackle ASP as effectively as possible. ASP is a Microsoft-centric technology and too tightly coupled to a specific vendor for many web developers, but Microsoft has made it as enticing as possible with great development tools, good interoperability with library and COM (Component Object Model) access, event transaction handling and lots of key features. If expensive, large scale systems are not a part of your criteria, this is one of the fastest ways to get dynamic server-side content onto the web at an affordable price.

ASP in a Nutshell is divided into 4 parts. The first, "Introduction to Active Server Pages", provides a high level overview of the technology, comparing CGI, ISAPI and both client and server-side BASIC and JavaScript coding. The book points out that a few vendors have introduced non-Windows versions of ASP but since there is no standard other than what MS releases and the implementations tend to vary widely, this is something you’ll have to weight carefully before you move away from Windows.

Part II covers the various major objects you’ll need to use, such as the Application, ObjectContext, Request, Response, Server and Session objects. If you’ve looked at Java Servlet technology, you’ll recognized many similarities immediately. Chapter 10 wraps up Part II with a good look at preprocessing directives, server-side includes and global settings. ASP comes with several extended objects. Part III takes a look at the ActiveX data object, the ad rotator, browser capabilities component, content rotator, counters, file access and permission handling, among other things. Part IV groups three appendices comparing CGI and ASP applications, covering alternative platforms and configuring ASP on the IIS (Internet Information Server).

Its hard to say anything negative about any of the Nutshell books. If you’re interested in working with ASP, evaluating the technology or already involved, this book has something to offer virtually every reader. As a reference book, it’s a great, inexpensive investment. The coverage is lucid, effective, well organized, logically unveiled, instructing the reader in a well crafted manner, exploring each issue just enough at each stage, and unfolding new ideas and important concepts in systematic steps. I found this book instructive, clear and a great value. At less than $25, it’s a very good buy.