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Creating Databases and Forms for the WWW using Active Server Pages


In order to use Active Server Pages (ASP) on the server you will normally need to create and publish your pages using Microsoft FrontPage. (All subsequent references to FrontPage within this document assume FrontPage 2000 or later.)

This document explains the different ways of connecting forms and databases on the Web using FrontPage. Please note that ASP can be used to connect web pages to either MS Access or to our main MS SQL server.

Further information about whether you should use, for your particular task, MS Access or MS SQL Server can be obtained from " Database integration with Web Pages".

ASP is a Microsoft technology used for creating web pages with 'active content' as, for example, in a form which is used to collect information from a user, a questionnaire or to search a database.

An Internet Information Services web server (IIS) is available to serve ASP enhanced pages. This functionality is not available on the main Apache Web server at The University of Reading.

MS FrontPage uses FrontPage Server Extensions; these extensions make it easier to publish active web pages on a web server. How you should do this at The University of Reading is described in the document Microsoft FrontPage 2000/2002/2003 facilities offered on the Microsoft Windows WWW server

Please note that you cannot normally use packages other than FrontPage to automatically create and publish ASP pages to the IIS web server. The main reason for this is that MS FrontPage automatically manages database connections: ITS do not have the resources to do this manually for most users. If you need to code your ASP yourself rather than letting MS FrontPage do it for you, you will need to upload your pages using FTP. In order to obtain FTP access to your web directory on the MS IIS server, please email giving full details.

Although you can work with 'source' and 'publish' directories in the same way as on the main Apache/Unix web server, you may not be able to see or test the results of your efforts until you have published to the IIS Server, unless you have web server software on your PC or you request a test/source area.

This document is not meant to be comprehensive but the aim is to get you started. Online information is available at Microsoft, e.g.

If you are hand-coding your ASP and need an ODBC/DSN connection, these have to be set up by IT Services (email - this is only carried out by arrangement and where it is neither possible nor reasonable to do the website within FrontPage). However for the MS SQL Server the necessary ODBC connection is set up by the user. If you have used the Upsizing Wizard to move an Access database to MS SQL Server, you will already have created the ODBC connection.

NB: The field names in your database must not contain spaces: i.e. instead of using field name use field_name.

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