If you are new to the world of C# and .NET, you might wonder why a chapter on ASP.NET has been included in this book. It’s a whole new language, right? Well, not really. In fact, as you will see, you can use C# to create ASP.NET pages.
ASP.NET is part of the .NET Framework and is a technology that allows for the dynamic creation of documents on a Web server when they are requested via HTTP. This mostly means HTML and XHTML documents, although it is equally possible to create XML documents, CSS files, images, ·PDF documents, or anything else that supports MIME types.
In some ways, ASP.NET is similar to many other technologies – such as PHP, ASP, or ColdFusion. There is, however, one key difference: ASP.NET, as its name suggests, has been designed to be fully integrated w~ the .NET Framework, part of which includes support for C#.
Perhaps you are familiar with Active Server Pages (ASP) technology, which enables you to create dynamic content. H you are, you will probably know that programming in this technology used scripting languages such as VBScript or JScript. The result was not always perfect, at least not for those of us used to “proper,” compiled programming languages, and it certainly resulted in a loss of performance.
One major difference related to the use of more advanced programming languages is the provision of a complete server-side object model for use at runtime. ASP.NET provides access to all of the controls on a page as objects, in a rich environment. On the server side, you also have access to other .NET classes, allowing for the integration of many useful services. Controls used on a page expose a lot of functionality; in fact, you can do almost as much as with Windows Forms classes, which provide plenty of flexibility. For this reason, ASP,NET pages that generate HTML content are often called Web Forms.
This chapter takes a more detailed look at ASP.NET, including how it works, what you can do with it, and how C# fits in. The following is a brief outline of what is covered:
An introduction to ASP.NET
- How to create ASP.NET Web Forms with server controls
- How to bind data to ASP.NET controls with ADO.NET
- Application configuration