Chapter 8. Enhancing Your Web Site with Third-Party Components

One of ASP’s greatest features is its tight integration with COM. As we examined in Chapter 7, Active Server Pages can instantiate complex COM objects written in high-level languages like Visual C++, Visual Basic, or Java. Microsoft provides several such components for use in Active Server Pages, such as the ActiveX Data Objects (ADO), the Ad Rotator, and the Content Linker.

As the popularity of Active Server Pages has grown, many developers have started their own companies that focus solely on developing COM components for use in Active Server Pages. These components can be used to greatly enhance the functionality provided by your web site. In this chapter, we’ll look at several of these components, focusing on what they do, when they should be used, and how to use them.

ASP was designed to intrinsically support only a small core of functionality, with the premise that if a developer needed further functionality, he could create his own COM component. Some people find this to be a shortcoming of ASP. For example, to open, read, and write to files with ASP, you must use the FileSystemObject; other server-side web scripting languages, like Perl, have file-handling capabilities already built in. While needing to instantiate a component to simply read a text file may seem like a superfluous performance hit, by omitting file-handling capabilities, ASP is more streamlined.

Personally, I find ASP’s implementation to be ideal. ...

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