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ASP.NET 2.0 Basics If you are new to ASP or ASP.NET programming with version 2.0, this is the forum to begin asking questions. Please also see the Visual Web Developer 2005 forum.
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Old November 12th, 2007, 06:13 PM
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Default ASP.NET 2.0; What Do I Need...?

Hi all, how's it going? I'm brand, spanking new to programming and plan on teaching myself. I'm very excited to be a part of this community as I know that it will be where I learn and grow with this wonderful thing.

When I join any forum, I usually beat around the bush (reading or researching on the forum) so I don't annoy anyone with my being so new. Unfortunately time is of the essence here and I really need some simple questions answered, so I'll ask right away.

I've decided to develop a website. On this website, I want to have a member login/register link.

You know, it's actually easier, I think, if I just describe the actions I take on a site where I'm a member.

I am a member of a particular site. When I registered, the script or programming automatically made me a member and created a "subdomain" of that site with my name. For example, www.sitea.com to reuben.sitea.com. And at their other site, it was www.siteb.com/reuben. I registered at both sites BTW.

At any rate, obviously it was the scripting or programming that did all of this "work" behind the scenes. And just like the "p2pwrox.com" forum, at this "sitea or siteb," I am the only MEMBER that can see and manipulate my own account profile and details.

Now while I am in my "back office" of sitea or siteb, I can navigate the links and change/save any of my account details which is pretty much standard of most sites of this nature.

If I introduced someone to this "sitea" or "siteb" via my subdomains or links (reuben.sitea.com or www.siteb.com/reuben), and he or she registers for the site through my sub or link, he or she is also given the same subdomain and link with their name.

When I'm logged in to sitea or siteb, I can see the new person in my "geneology" as my "downline," and again, I know that some programming of some sort was responsible for plugging that information.

With all of that said, here are my questions:

I'm trying to develop something similar, and I've come across so many things. I'm reading about PHP, ASP, JavaScript, AJAX, etc., and I purchased book after book and I can't really find any extensive real world examples as to what to use and when.

Are "sitea" and "siteb" set up using PHP, ASP, JavaScript, AJAX, etc., or a combination of them all or what? This is the part I'm confused about. I'm not asking anyone to write scripting or programming for me, I just want to be pointed in the right direction so I can concentrate my learning and research in a more pin-pointed fashion.

Right now I'm just blindly reading EVERYTHING and I think it's a waste of time.

Can someone give me a short breakdown of why you'd use one over the other?

Do they all have similar functions and developers just prefer one over the other? Is it a matter of preference? Do they all have different functions?

Oh, BTW, sitea and siteb have a URL with the extention of .php. I know that this doesn't mean that they used PHP only. At least I don't think that's what it mean...

Hey, take care all and thanks in advance for your help. Didn't mean to post something so long...


Reuben aka L-Man





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Old November 12th, 2007, 07:45 PM
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Hmm. I don't want to come across as a pessimist here so take everything I say in stride and realize that I am a seasoned programmer but ultimately am here to help! =]

First sites that are employing .php pages are using PHP although there can be a mix of PHP, AJAX, and JavaScript PHP is what they are using to facilitate Server side functions (making calls to a database for example). While it is possible to run a site that employs multiple technologies (PHP and ASP.NET for example) it gets messy and handling sessions becomes a huge headache!

I have only ever setup a subdomain (something.domain.com) through IIS and, while I am sure it is possible to set this up through some code, I am unsure of how to do it.

www.domain.com/foo however is much easier to setup and it can be done lots of ways whether it be dynamic creation of a directory on the server or using URL Rewriting it is much simpler to setup IMHO.

So now comes the somewhat pessimistic part of this post. Just like when you were a child you needed to learn how to crawl before you could walk so to can that analogy be applied to programming. You are ambitious but you said "time is of the essence" so if time is a major factor you will probably need to hire someone to bang this out for you.

I am not saying it is entirely impossible for you to setup a site with the functionality you outlined above, google is full of code samples, but if you were to piece your site together with code someone else has created and you have no understanding of it, you will be SOL if/when something breaks!

In so far as what technology you want to use, that is a matter of personal preferance. I am a .NET guy so I use IIS and Visual Studio to do my work (while visual studio is not free, MS has released alot of scaled down IDE's for programmers who dont have the 1,000+ USD for VS).

If you would like me to elaborate on anything further please let me know.

-Doug

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Old November 12th, 2007, 09:07 PM
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Reuben,

First off, welcome to the community. I hope you'll find it helpful. There are many knowledgeable folks here (several of them being the Wrox authors themselves).

As Doug suggests, you need to crawl before you walk. I would encourage you to build some simple sites before you try to tackle a more complicated one. And as Doug also suggests, learning on a time critical project isn't going to help much. In the end you'll get very frustrated and may be disappointed with the result.

As far as the technical aspects of your question:
The language/technology you use is, again like Doug points out, a matter of personal preference. But it might also be subject to your environment. You might not technically be able to deploy the application if it's build with a certain technology. Each technology has its own requirements.

Javascript is a client-side technology so you aren't too limited by that, but need to consider cross browser compatibility. AJAX isn't really a technology per se, more of a technique. Many web frameworks (ASP.NET, PHP, Ruby on Rails, etc) have AJAX frameworks that can sit atop those page frameworks to provide AJAX functionality.

Having a sub domain for "user specific site" isn't as hard as you may think. I quote "user specific site" because in reality, it's not really user specific. When you configure a URL in a Domain name system you can specify a wild card address. I.e. something akin to *.mysite.com. This allows anything to be pointed to a single address. Thus, when you sign up at www.sitea.com and it "creates" "reuben.sitea.com" it's likely not really doing anything other than storing some values in a database. When you point your browser to "reuben.sitea.com" the request goes to the same program that handles "www.sitea.com" but it recognizes the custom URL and serves up the custom version using the program logic. This is basically the same as what would happen with "www.sitea.com/reuben". The custom parts of the URL are virtual.

All of that being said, it requires an understanding of how web applications work and how to configure the web server platform to handle these kinds of custom URLs to make this kind of scenario work. For example, if a web browser requests this URL: "www.sitea.com/reuben/profile.aspx" running IIS, you'll get a 404 (file not found) error because there is no real directory "reuben". So you need to program in some application wide logic that translates that virtual URL into a real URL that can function properly. This technique is known as URL re-writing. If you build this same application in a PHP world on the Apache web server, then you may have to change the way Apache is configured. I am not familiar with Apache or PHP so I can't speak to the details of how to implement the solution in that environment.


Web development is a complex beast once you get into dynamic applications and rich user experiences. There is no silver bullet. You have to use what works best for you and your environment.

-Peter
 
Old November 15th, 2007, 12:00 AM
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^^^^^ Hence why it's going to take some time to pull this all together, even if you know what you're doing. This is a large project. The sites that you've seen doing this almost certainly had a team of a dozen or more people working months to get everything off the ground. I wouldn't even recommend having someone do the work for you. I'd suggest shopping around for a website management tool that a development team has put together with a simple interface for you to administer. If it's time critical that's the only realistic way to get this off the ground.

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Old November 19th, 2007, 05:25 AM
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Wow, I really didn't expect this sort of response. I'm super lost, however, I'm smiling ear to ear...Ha!

These types of incredible responses are exactly what I want.


-Chronicle

Thanks for your reply. I figured I'd probably be better off paying someone if I wanted to get up and running quickly. I found a guy that would charge me like $3,500 to program my request.


-Doug and Peter

Thank you as well; and thanks for the warm welcome. It's great to know that there are people like you guys here to give direction.

Okay, so let me get this straight, I could use IIS and Visual Studio (with the database being stored in SQL Server), or I could use Apache and PHP (with MySql to store the database)?

Does this mean with either "setup" I would be using my computer as the "server?" What if I have web hosting from PowWeb or BlueHost?

Currently I'm reading "Beginning ASP.NET 2.0 with C Sharp" and have downloaded Visual Studio 2005 (Visual Web Developer 2005 Express Edition and SQL Server Express) as the book suggests. I'm assuming this is a "scaled" down version of Visual Studio...

Also I have DreamWeaver 8; Can it do what Visual Web Developer does, or is VWD more user friendly? I noticed that with DreamWeaver I can create .asp pages, however it looks like I'd have to do a little more hand coding...maybe I'm wrong.

Right now I can't think of any other questions so I'll end here...

Oh and what I should have said in addition to time being important was I wanted to "hurry" and find out whether or not it was indeed a personal preference (a question which you guys already answered) because I wanted to "hurry" and focus my attention to learning one "setup" instead of reading any and every thing just to find out 12 months later that I didn't have to waste all of that time.

I've decided to go with IIS and Visual Studio because I saw a demo video of Visual Web Development in action.

Take care and thanks again guys...


Reuben aka L-Man

Programming?  I'm getting goosebumps already...
 
Old November 19th, 2007, 09:43 AM
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Hi Reuben,
  The RDBMS that you choose is of little consequence because .NET (and PHP for that matter) can connect to MySQL, Sql Server, Oracle, etc.

Regarding VWD: Yes this is a scaled down verison of VS in that you can only create Web Applications with it. To create Windows applications, for example, you would neeed to download Visual C# Express.

Regarding Dreamweaver: While it is possible to programing ASP pages in Dreamweaver, I think, you will find it more trouble then its worth and I am not sure that you can program .NET pages in DW although I have never used the application so am not 100% sure.

Regarding your Server: It is good practice to set your machine up as the test server and reserve your hosting space for your finished project. In any event, VWD has a built in web server that you can use to test your applications and it does not require you to set up IIS on your machine.

hth.

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Old November 19th, 2007, 10:03 AM
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Hi there.. just and add-on, there is a Visual VB Express version also...

HTH

Gonzalo

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Old November 20th, 2007, 12:46 PM
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You can technically build a ASP.NET, or ANY other .NET application using the simplest of tools (i.e. notepad and the command line). All the source is textual so any text editor will work, and you can compile it from the command line. Using the web site model for ASP.NET doesn't even require compilation.

All that being said, Visual Studio is the best tool for developing .NET applications. Given that there are many free versions available, it would be silly to use anything else.

-Peter





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