The book discusses the Internet in terms of the history of client/server systems and describes why it is a better way to deliver scaleable, maintainable systems using thin clients. It describes basic Microsoft tools, such as NT4, Internet Information Server (IIS), and Personal Web Server. The authors then move toward the basics of using Active Server Pages (ASPs) starting with basic objects (such as the Request, Cookies, and Response objects). They stress a solutions-basic approach with plenty of examples to show what's going on. Sections on Active Server Components and listings of third-party controls that can enhance your ASP Web site are particularly useful.
Professional Active Server Pages 2.0 thoroughly explains databases and ASPs, from the architecture of ActiveX Data Objects (ADO), object linking and embedding database (OLE-DB), and open database connectivity (ODBC) to the basic objects used to query and manipulate data in Web pages. The latter half of this book gives some perspective on the issues that real-world Web developers face every day. The authors discuss how to overcome the "stateless" nature of Internet using specific ASP objects. The book also includes material on the strategies for creating online communities--through Microsoft's support for chat rooms and personalizing content--Dynamic HTML, and how to use Internet Explorer 4-specific capabilities. The authors introduce new Microsoft products, such as Microsoft Transaction Server (MTS) and Microsoft Message Queue Server (MSMQ), and provide a very useful case study of an e-commerce Web site for direct sales for a publisher. Other case studies show how to customize content to specific browsers and how to migrate a traditional client-side application onto an online version.
With its wide-ranging coverage of ASP technologies and excellent case studies that show useful applications at work, Professional Active Server 2.0 is the only title you will need to become a productive ASP Web developer. --Richard Dragan