I continually get asked questions like the following:
"Where you can I find the ASP documentation?"
"Where can I go to get the latest version of ADO?"
"Where can I get more information about ASP?"
"Where can I find out about all the VBScript commands?"
Well the short answer to all of these questions is that you can
get the information from Microsoft's website. The problem is
trying to figure out where it is and once you find it trying to
make sure that you'll be able to find it again the next time you
When I first started searching microsoft.com for information a
couple of years ago, I used to dismiss it as a poorly designed
site because I could never find what I was looking for. Well
time has opened my eyes somewhat and I now realize that while
putting thousands of documents on a web site is easy, organizing
those documents into a structure that makes sense and allows
users to find them easily is not. At times I still get
frustrated, but nowadays (due in no small part to ASP 101) I'm
more understanding of the problem and realize that it's almost
always there somewhere... I just have to find it!
That's where this article comes into the picture. In my job, I
spend a great deal of time online reading about ASP. As a result,
I've run across some links on microsoft.com that are extremely
useful to say the least. (Heck... I find it amazing that so many
people get so far using ASP without knowing about these.) So in
an effort to share some of the knowledge with those of you just
starting out, here's what I consider to be the top 10 list of the
most useful microsoft.com ASP-related links.
I'm starting with a page that's barely related to ASP, but is
nonetheless extremely important: Microsoft Security Homepage.
Web sites aren't run in isolation. The whole point of most sites is
getting information out to the public. Well, whenever you open your
doors to give something to the public you need be careful that they
don't follow you back in! This page is the key to help you keep that
Of particular interest on this site are the security bulletins (which
announce newly discovered problems and link to the patches), the best
practices documents (which outline the steps you should follow to
secure your site), and the tools and checklists (which will help
you actually implement these best practices).
The next link on our list is the
Microsoft Universal Data Access
page. This page will keep you up to date on what's going on with
ADO, OLE DB, ODBC, and any other data access technologies you use.
Most people use ASP to access some sort of data and you'd be surprised
how many of them are using old versions of MDAC. Updating your data
access components can not only give you a performance increase it can also
fix some of the temperamental problems you often ran into in earlier versions.
With all the hype about the new ASP.NET, it seemed like I had
to include this link to the MSDN Online .NET Developer Center.
While it's not really a "Classic ASP" link, if you're developing
ASP solutions today then it only makes good sense to stay up to date
with what's going on with the next version. Another Microsoft link
that's also of value in this regard (even though it's not technically
on microsoft.com) is http://www.asp.net.
IIS is another supporting technology that people tend to take for granted
when using ASP and you really shouldn't. Since ASP runs on IIS, knowing
as much about it as possible can help greatly when you're working with ASP.
Our next link is probably the most important link you can have at
Microsoft. The Microsoft Support Knowledge Base
should be your first stop when you have a problem with any Microsoft product.
It's an invaluable resource for all their products and even ASP is no exception.
While you can select "Active Server Pages" from the drop down box,
I've had better luck selecting "All Microsoft Products" and including the
keyword "kbASP" (without quotes) in an "All Words"
"Keyword Search" query. Use "kbASP" alone to return a list
of all ASP related articles
Note: While I was unable to find the new home page for this link,
I've found some of the articles mentioned below so I've left this
as #4 and added another #4 below.
After that last link I felt bad because while there is a ton of
good information there, I figured you'd probably get lost and not
find half of it. So for ASP specific stuff go to the
Web Workshop - Server Technologies Homepage.
About half a dozen links from the top you'll find an
Active Server Pages link that will expand to reveal glorious treasures.
Well maybe not, but there are a lot of good articles there.
Since I can't seem to find the new home of the old #4, here's another
link you might find helpful: Active Server Pages (General) under
Server Technologies. It's the closest thing to the old Server Technologies
Homepage that I could find.
ASP needs to be written in a language of some sort. Most people
choose VBScript and often don't even know they've made a choice.
The languages are so much a part of the process that a web site
about the languages themselves would be extremely useful... that's
probably why there is one: Microsoft Scripting Technologies.
Not only can you get scripting engine updates, you can read all the documentation
online or even download and install it locally so you always
have access to it.
Conveniently buried with a non-descript name, this is the
source for information about ASP.
See there really is a lot of stuff out there. While it may be
hard to find at times, once you find it, you'll find it's usually
worth the search. I hope this has helped introduce you to some
new and interesting information straight from the source!
Note: As we all know, links change. If any of
the above don't work for you, please let me know and I'll look
into fixing or replacing the offending link with the new URL or
another page. Also, if you think you've got a better
microsoft.com link that I should include, drop me a line as well.