Database-Driven Websites With ASP And Dreamweaver CS4

Hardly any people would argue that Adobe Dreamweaver is one of the most widely used web development packages around. It has gained its popularity by appealing to users with a broad variety of profiles. Its user-friendly interface appeals to inexperienced users with a small amount awareness of the technologies that underpin web pages. At the same time, it allows practiced web developers to interact with code in a variety of constructive ways.

Adobe Dreamweaver enables developers to create dynamic web sites whose content is derived from a data source. Such sites feature server-side pages, written in a scripting language such as PHP, ASP or ASP.Net, which need to be executed on the server. It is therefore obligatory to give a testing server as part of the site setup while defining such sites within Dreamweaver.

A Microsoft invention, Active Server Pages (ASP) is one of the easiest such languages to configure. Now referred to as classic ASP to distinguish it from ASP.Net, the current incarnation of Active Server Pages, ASP was initially released in the late nineties and revolutionised the way in which web sites were developed. ASP is designed to run on Windows 2000 server and on Windows XP Professional. It is part of Internet Information Services (IIS), an optional Windows component. Once installed, IIS converts your PC into a web server running a default website located in a folder called "wwwroot" which can be accessed with the web address "localhost/".

Once ASP is up and running, Adobe Dreamweaver is equipped to start creating dynamic web sites. The features on hand in Dreamweaver for generating the necessary server-side content are to be found in three panels: Databases, Bindings and Server Behaviors. The Databases panel is used to create connections to data sources. In the case of ASP, the most frequent solutions are Microsoft Access and the more powerful Microsoft SQL Server. As soon as a connection to the database is in place, the Bindings panel is used to retrieve data into a recordset. The dialogue box which Adobe Dreamweaver uses for creating recordsets automatically generates fragments of SQL as the user interacts with the related data objects. However, some familiarity with SQL (structured query language) is needed to be able to retrieve specifically the data necessary for a given recordset.

The Server Behaviours panel is where nearly all of the action takes place: It contains a wide variety of pre-built scripts which can be used to add dynamic content to web pages. For example, the Insert Record server behaviour can be used to create a form which adds new records to a database table via a web page or it can be used to create an enquiries sheet which adds every enquiry to an enquires table and afterward takes the visitor to a thank you page. - 18101

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