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  • Getting Started in ASP

    Howdy! Newbie to Coding Forum here.

    I'm new to ASP development, but not to computer programming. Our shop is a cheap, low-budget for software development, state agency so any resemblance to an integrated development environment or professional tools is purely coincidental.

    My Goal
    I need to set up my own "development environment" for maintaining & modifying a web site using ASP, Javascript, VBScript, HTML, SQL, with a MS SQL Server 7 back-end database. I'm working on a PC with Windows 98.

    BTW, anyone using "pure javascript?" I mean particularly no VBScript on the server-side. While some programmers will say "no big deal, both languages are easy", from a maintenance perspective proliferating multiple languages is a bad thing, even if "only scripting."

    Let's Start at the Beginning
    I must get by on-the-cheap. Our organization will not buy Dreamweaver Ultradev or MS's Developer's InterDev (Developer Studio) for me. If I begged enough I might get some blood out of this turnip; "productivity" is a buzzword they at least heard before.

    I need solid recommendations (and rationale) for:
    • Text Editors
      Reference books (NOT the same as tutorial/textbooks)
      Tutorial books (If you've ever seen C How to Program (or other "how to Program" books) by Deitel & Deitel, then you know what style of *textbooks* I like.

    So Far...
    Text Editors
    Color coding is a must. Editor cannot add it's own code. You know the usual features a programmer's tool should have.

    MS Word is outta there!.

    Been using "EditPlus" for a few weeks now. It's OK. Color coding is adequate, good auto-indenting, some HTML tag buttons.

    "TextPad" was recommended in some book, but haven't used it. Looks like it can color-code only 1 language at a time.

    PFE has no color coding.

    Is there any PC editor as good as BBEdit (Macintosh only)? Using BBEdit from my Macintosh is too inconvenient and BBEdit only "understands" HTML. File name extensions on email attachments can be a problem sometimes - as I've experienced in Outlook.

    "MS Development Environment." Included in Windows 98. Looks a symbolic debugger, like it MS Ultra Dev with zero bells and whistles. Recognizes the ASP tag though. Haven't used it yet. Symbolic debugger stuff does not work - do I need to install Personal Web Server and drive my ASP pages from my local computer to make it work?

    Is there *anything* that nicely integrates all the coding elements?

    Are there any books on ASP with server-side *Javascripting* (JScript, in the case of Microsoft) instead of VBScript?

    JavaScript Unleashed third edition. Pretty good explainations. Insufficient reference of objects, properties, and methods.

    Professional Active Server Pages Wrox publishing - Well, it's getting me started, but it's a struggle.

    HTML, The Definitive Guide - O'Reilly Publishing. Comprehensive reference, but definitely not a book for actually learning HTML.

    Transact-SQL Programming - O'Reilly Publishing. This book has been very useable.

    Learning VBScript - O'Reilly Publishing. Fireplace fodder, that's all I can say.

  • #2

    Well, for ASP I've always used VBscript, I know javascript, but am more comfortable with VBScript (Mainly because if I run into a problem I can just test it out using VB... )

    Here's my suggestions for you...

    Text Editor: I really like EditPlus 2 - I've tried alot of different editors and IMO this is the best one. (If you find a better one, let me know, I'm always open to trying new stuff...)

    Tools: I've been using Visual Basic to test alot of my code - it's great because it'll give you a tooltip as you're typing out the code (In case you get confused at which parameters to put first..)

    Books: Books that have helped me out are: ASP Developer's Guide - Instant ASP Scripts - Both by Greg Buczek

    Note: Those books deal with VBScript - I haven't come accross any for JScript - but haven't looked either

    One thing I'll warn you about though - It's going to be very difficult to test your ASP scripts quickly using Windows 98 - PWS (Personal Web Server) is very limited as far as what info it will process, etc. I'd recommend Windows 2000 Pro - but if you're doing fine with 98 and you at least have a backend server (which by the sounds of it, you do) you'll be able to get by

    Have fun!



    • #3
      Text editor:
      - Notepad

      Debugging tools:
      - Users

      - "Harry Potter and the Add New Hardware Wizard".


      • #4
        Spudhead... you need to read RadarBob's orginial post...

        "Text Editors
        Color coding is a must." <-- Notepad doesn't have color coding

        users are a good debugging tool though


        • #5
          ... you're obviously missing the "Chunky Felt Tip Pen" plugin...


          • #6
            Text Editor: EditPlus is the best. The ability to create or download auto-completion files cuts out a lot of coding time.

            Tools: I have never used "MS Development Environment". I just debug by whatever line number I get a error message on.

            Beginning Active Server Pages Wrox publishing In my opinion it is the best book for beginners.
            For pure references I always use :

            I have always used vbscript with ASP so I can not help with your jscript question.
            does this sig match?


            • #7
              Same here as regards ASP and VBScript; you'll find a lot more references/support using VBScript with ASP than you will for javascript (all I can say there is good luck!)

              As for a text editor, I haven't tried EditPlus yet (I'll need to check that out)... I really like HTML KIT personally (You can write your OWN plugins for it, so I wrote myself an ASP one)... also EditPad Pro (or Lite) is pretty good too...
              Former ASP Forum Moderator - I'm back!

              If you can teach yourself how to learn, you can learn anything. ;)


              • #8
                Thanks for your replies so far, folks.

                Spudhead, looks like you take the frontal assault approach to web slinging (a little Spiderman tie-in, implying 'super hero' status to web programmers in general!). Every coding project is like Omaha beach?

                BTW SH, in another thread I see you want to convert VBS to Jscript. Have any good tutorials, references, etc. for Jscript?

                As far as VBS vs. JS, 'comfort level' so to speak is important; after all at some point one must actually write workable code. However I am thinking about all Javascript because:
                • Only one language to learn
                • JavaScript codes like C++
                • JavaScript codes like Java
                • Javascript is the default language in Internet Explorer, suprisingly enough
                • If browsers support anything, they support JavaScript
                • JavaScript is a standard not controlled by Microsoft
                • Thinking in JavaScript is much more like C, C++, Java than VBScript is.
                • Proliferating multiple languages in a large coding shop causes more problems than it solves - in the long run


                • #9
                  OK, so I don't really use notepad Except occasionally. My favourite free editor is HTML-kit. Probably because it comes the closest to Homesite in terms of features and interface.

                  On JSCRIPT, my resource url of choice has to be the MSDN reference - but I've seen very little around that covers the specifics of ASP in JSCRIPT.

                  Good luck


                  • #10
                    Ya know, Radar Bob... I don't agree with you on much at all... and I don't mean anything personal by disagreeing with these points, I'm just offering my two cents for what they're worth!

                    First of all, it's just a simple fact that ASP is much easier to use with VBScript (because it has a WHOLE LOT more documentation... period!).

                    And as for what "browsers" support.. yeah - javascript - but that has nothing to do with server-side scripting, since the results of server-side processing are sent as PURE HTML and Client-side script, and you can (and I do) send plenty of javascripts to the client-side that include ASP variables.

                    I don't think by "limiting your programmers to one language (or languages that have similar syntax)" that you're doing them a *favor* at all... programming is programming - the syntax may change, but the logic behind it doesn't.

                    JavaScript is a standard not controlled by Microsoft
                    I can't argue with that one too much, lol! If Microsoft controlled all standards we'd be constantly downloading security patches for everything.

                    Thinking in JavaScript is much more like C, C++, Java than VBScript is.
                    I agree to a point... that point is that they have similar syntax- however, they "think" pretty much the same to me... it's all logic isn't it? i.e.:

                    // do something
                    // do something else

                    If 1 = 1 Then
                    'do something
                    'do something else
                    End If

                    That's a basic example, but I'm sure you get my point!

                    Proliferating multiple languages in a large coding shop causes more problems than it solves - in the long run
                    I have to completely disagree with that. I think people should be encouraged to expand their horizons!

                    Not to mention it's the application, and what you're trying to accomplish with that application, that should be foremost in your thinking at that point - basically use whatever language is most appropriate to make the application work efficiently. If your programmers need to learn another language to do that, then they need to be allotted a *fair* amount of time for research.

                    P.S. If anyone (Spudhead?) is interested I have improved upon (and will continue to be improving upon) the pretty lame ASP Quick Bar plugin for HTML-KIT.

                    If you want to see what I've done so far, and perhaps offer additional improvements, check out my website, I have a download of the "ASPVenom" (like the snake, ASP, ya know?) plugin there.
                    Last edited by whammy; Jun 21, 2002, 09:07 PM.
                    Former ASP Forum Moderator - I'm back!

                    If you can teach yourself how to learn, you can learn anything. ;)