Chapter 15. ProgrammingWeb Applications with Web Forms

Rather than writing traditional Windows desktop and client-server applications, more and more developers are now writing web-based applications, even when their software is for desktop use. There are many obvious advantages. For one, you do not have to create as much of the user interface: you can let Internet Explorer and Netscape Navigator handle a lot of it for you. Another, perhaps bigger advantage is that distribution of revisions is faster, easier, and less expensive. When I worked at an online network that predated the Web, we estimated our cost of distribution for each upgrade at $1 million per diskette (remember diskettes?). Web applications have virtually zero distribution cost. The third advantage of web applications is distributed processing. With a web-based application, it is far easier to provide server-side processing. The Web provides standardized protocols (e.g., HTTP, HTML, and XML) to facilitate building n-tier applications.

The .NET technology for building web applications (and dynamic web sites) is ASP.NET, which provides a rich collection of types for building web applications in its System.Web and System.Web.UI namespaces. In this chapter, I’ll focus on where ASP.NET and C# programming intersect: the creation of Web Forms. (For coverage of ASP.NET alone, see my upcoming book, Programming ASP.NET, O’Reilly, 2001.)

Web Forms bring Rapid Application Development (RAD) techniques (such as those used in ...

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