How to offer data over the internet

06-13-2002, 11:28 PM
ASP, DHTML, .NET, XML, IIS. So many choices have me going crazy!
I am a beginner to intermediate level Visual Basic programmer, and I am trying to broaden my abilities. Specifically, I am trying to get more knowledgeable about offering dynamic information over the web, but there are so many choices to go with. I am already familiar with database programming with ADO and DAO, and would like to be able to set up an IIS server with access to specialized reports and data from a set of ODBC data files. I can do a great deal of this in Access 2000, with their new "pages" feature, but am limited in what I can control. I want the user to be able to access data, but only over a SECURE connection (128bit, etc) with appropriate password safeguards etc, and get special reports that I run from queries and view and possibly modify information in these data files.
What would any of you suggest as the best way to go to do this. I understand IIS webclasses are going away with the new .Net platform, and yet I am scared to start up with .Net.
It also would be really nice if I could figure out how to create a web based e-commerce style site programmattically and SECURELY.
Thanks in advance for ANY help or ideas!

06-14-2002, 12:45 AM
ASP and .NET would be a good way to go.

MSDN has a lot of tutorials on both.

06-14-2002, 09:55 AM
Ok...... Sounds good to me. Does the ASP capability lie within my Visual Basic 6.0 IDE, or do I have to buy a different developement tool? I assume .Net requires an upgrade to visual studio .Net. Is this something I could take as a two-step approach, learning ASP now, and later moving to .Net when I have something to show to my boss to justify the added expense, or does ASP really require .NET? Finally, you mentioned that MSDN has examples of each, does anyone know of a good online (non-Microsoft) tutorial. A good book?

Thanx in advance!

06-14-2002, 12:16 PM
ASP is most usually written using VBS. This can be done from notepad. Once the code is written, simply give it an ASP file extension, and upload it to your ASP supported web server. If you want to test stuff locally, you can install IIS (I think PWS that comes with Win98 also works). Both IIS and PWS are available for download from MS.
.NET requires the .NET framework and SDK, which is a free download. ASP doesn't require .NET, and personally, I'd get to grips with ordinary ASP before moving to .NET.
Search the web - there's tonnes of ASP stuff out there.

06-14-2002, 12:19 PM
Thanks alot ChiefRedBull. I agree, I like to learn to walk (or in this case crawl) before running for my life! What about security. How do I make access encrypted, password protected etc.?

06-14-2002, 12:38 PM
Well, I know very little about ASP, so I don't know if it has built in security, but I doubt it. Any encryption etc must be implemented server side AFAIK - ie SSL, SSH, etc, in the same manner as HTTPS since all the traffic between server and client is plain text.

Password protection is doable via ASP. Passwords can be stored in a server side DB and retrieved on the server once variables are passed to the ASP script.

06-14-2002, 12:39 PM
Thanks! Looks like I have some research ahead of me!

06-14-2002, 04:31 PM
Well, if you are competent in VB -- I think ASP is the logical transition for getting at the information over the web. There are other ways, such as JSP, PHP, Cold Fusion. However, JSP and CF are far more propriety based, and PHP and ASP are free. Things like DHTML and XML are basically for presenting and describing the information once it received by the client and not actually dealing with the information.

ASP has one setback... its portability. Basically, this means that it can't be practically used on other platforms (such as a Unix based OS.) PHP, on the other hand, can be run on almost every web server around. Sun offers an ASP knockoff called "Chilisoft", but my experience has led me to conclude that it doesn't do "everything" the genuine ASP scripting engine does on PWS and IIS. Unless you are designing some monstrous scripted site and foresee possibly having to move it around, ASP should work fine. This is because 1) You can get either IIS or PWS for free 2) It's an easy transition into VBScript from VB 3) ASP is the most object oriented server side scripting language around.

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