I have recently debated with a friend of mine about my stubborn belief in classic ASP. If you are reading The Web Thought, you already know that I mainly program in classic ASP, but you might not know why I still use it, and probably will go on using it.
Here I'll explain my ideas.
A little bit of historyFirst of all I would like to be clear on one thing: ASP is not a programming language, strictly speaking, but a scripting engine. VBScript is the main language used in ASP pages. In fact, my first steps into programming were made trying to understand VBA (Visual Basic for Applications). So, please be aware that in this article I will refer to ASP as a general term, not strictly to the scripting engine.
I started to get into classic ASP in the late nineties. As a matter of fact, the latest version of ASP (3.0) was released in 2000 and basically I started to be interested in programming languages - specifically in ASP - exactly in the period when ASP was supposed to be retired.
Just after a few years, when I created my first ASP web site, Microsoft introduced ASP.NET. In the same period, I began to play around with Visual Studio, and I created some .NET web sites and applications as well. I wanted to say that, just to make clear that I did try and work with the .NET framework (and sometimes I still do).
With the above in mind, I would like to take your attention to some very well know things said about ASP. Specifically things said to demonstrate that ASP is dead and gone. Without any doubt.
Well, as you may understand, I have some very strong doubts, and here I explain them.
Classic ASP is deadMany people say that classic ASP is already dead. That is because many programmers have decided to use different programming languages, such as PHP or .NET. I do not want to discuss the reasons why someone decides to leave ASP for PHP (apart from costs which I will shortly explain), because - as I like to believe - we live in a free world where everybody can make choices based on one's ideas and belief (or interests).
However, the fact that many are leaving classic ASP does not mean that ASP is dead. For what I can see on the web, ASP is still quite alive and kicking.
For example, the recent release of Microsoft WebMatrix is a demonstration of it. The development software is fully supporting classic ASP. That means, there's still a demand for it.
ASP costs moreMany are stating that classic ASP costs more than other programming languages, especially PHP. Here the matter gets more complicated. First of all, how much does an ASP server cost? It depends. If you are developing in a in-house situation, you might use a Window server or a Linux server. The first has some licensing costs, while the latter doesn't. That as a start and if you're doing things yourself. Anyway, for small and medium sized companies, Linux servers might end up costing more than Windows servers because maintenance is normally more complicated and expensive.
If the company is relying on web hosting services, Linux and Windows servers cost basically the same.
As a side note, many are stating that MySQL is free while SQL Server is not. As PHP is mainly used for MySQL database driven web sites, the choice is always on MySQL and PHP. However MySQL is not really free (did you know?). In fact the commercial license is absolutely not free (check MySQL web site for proof). At the same time Ms SQL Server Express Edition is free.
ASP is no longer supportedIt is true that the latest release of ASP has been in November 2000, and there won't be any other release in the future. Said that, it is clear that "no future release" doesn't mean Microsoft won't support it. All the latest Windows operating systems versions, and specifically all the IIS versions have full support for ASP pages. And Microsoft is going to continue to support ASP pages and VBScript. The reason? There are too many ASP web sites around the world wide web. Simple as that!
It's difficult to find information and tutorials about ASPAH! That is definitely not true! And The Web Thought is already a proof against it. But, there are really a lot of web sites still talking about classic ASP out there. I could make a long list of active forums, blogs and web sites but maybe it is not the point here. You can just Google for classic ASP and see for yourselves.
Further on that, did you know that Microsoft still maintain a whole section about ASP on MSDN?
Are those enough good reasons?Not for me. But there are other reasons why I still use ASP.
I do not need to make things before starting to develop in classic ASP. I do not need to install anything on the server, and everything's already running. There's no need to configure anything and it is available on any PC running Windows.
Thus I don't see any advantages in moving to another language at the moment. Not that I'm lazy, in fact I do like challanges and I do enjoy learning new things, but to be blunt, just when it is needed, because I really do not have spare time for those kind of things at the moment.
As you can see, there are really good reasons not to declare classic ASP dead. It is my belief that, on the contrary, ASP will have a new revamp in the near future. And people who left it, will reevaluate its flexibility and power.
So, tell me what you think about it and share your experience using the comment section below. I'll really appreciate it.