Webmaster's Note: This was written a long time ago
(in an office far, far away)
when ASP.NET was first announced and was called being ASP+.
It was slightly updated when the name change occurred, but it
is still somewhat dated. We're leaving it up since it's still
a decent basic overview, but please realize there may be factual
inaccuracies due to changes that may have occurred during the
development of ASP.NET.
Well by now many of you have probably heard, or at least caught
the fact, that the next version of ASP is not going to be ASP 4.0. It
is instead going to be called ASP.NET, and what a difference that
little change makes. I've seen the future and it's called ASP.NET!
(In the past, the future was called ASP+, but in the present the future's
ASP.NET... got it?)
Now don't get too excited. Microsoft just made the official
announcement at the PDC in Orlando and is still quite a ways from
actually releasing it, but from what I've seen, it'll be well worth
First off, let me stress that this is not simply a new version of ASP
with a couple new features and some bug fixes like ASP 3.0 was when
you compared it to ASP 2.0. This is a whole new system built from
the ground up that takes the strong points of ASP and tries to expand
on them, but at the same time fixes many of the shortcomings of the
existing ASP implementation.
Since there's so much to cover, I'm going to break it down into
several sections and look at the changes from each point of view. In
this way I hope to try and give you the best overall view of the new
technology. I'll start by discussing the new infrastructure upon
which ASP.NET sits since it provides the context for many of the other
changes. I'll then cover the features and changes that offer
increased performance, greater scalability, quicker and easier
development, easier management, the new languages, and finally web
With all the new features and improvements in ASP.NET, there's little
doubt that you'll want to upgrade and begin writing your new code in
ASP.NET as soon as possible. However, there is one catch... much of
your existing code probably won't run under the new system.
To deal with this Microsoft has designed ASP.NET to be able to run
side by side with previous versions of ASP. Because of this we've
got a new file extension (.aspx) but it'll make upgrading a lot less
painful and make our lives a lot easier.
The main theme throughout all the new stuff in ASP.NET is that the
system now does a lot of grunt work for you. If you don't like the
way it does it everything is totally modular so you can do it
yourself or override the way it was done. On the other hand, if you
do want to use it,
a lot more of the basic plumbing is already done. This allows
you to focus on developing your solution and not on the building the
For all of you who have emailed asking when you can get ASP.NET...
the answer is now! Please be aware that this a
is still a beta release and while we've
been assured it is feature complete and very stable... it's still
not released software so putting it on your mission critical servers
might not be the best thing to do!