What is ASP?

ASP comes from Microsoft and stands for Active Server Pages. It is one of various 'server side' technologies, meaning that the code runs on the web server rather than the client's web browser.

What is ASP used for?

ASP is used to create web pages dynamically (these pages tend to have the extension .asp rather than .htm or .html). Instead of a server having individual files for each web page, such pages are built from instructions. This is particularly useful, for instance, if one is generating web pages from information stored within a database.

Who can see ASP-generated content?

From the point of view of a browser, a web page created dynamically by ASP is indistinguishable from a web page created from a static file. It is the content of such a web page which determines if a browser can show it. However, some of the inbuilt functions provided by ASP do produce browser-specific code.

One function provided by ASP is the ability to retain information about individual users as they move between web pages on a given site (important for e-commerce sites, for instance, as the contents of a user's shopping basket must persist). But, since this function makes uses of 'cookies', it will only be supported by browsers which accept cookies.

The following example demonstrates another inbuilt function provided by ASP. If you click the 'reload' button on your browser a few times, or on the picture below, you will see that it is chosen at random from a list of four.

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