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Welcome to my article ASP Installation Tutorial. I have decided to write this one after the great success of my previous article CGI installation tutorial. Moreover We know there are number of free and low cost ASP scripts are available in the market which can make your site dynamic and can hold your data on a database. My aim in this article is to give the basic and necessary knowledge on ASP script customization and basics on databases even for a non-programmer. In the following chapters I will guide you learn through step by step procedures, so that you can expertise yourself on the following topics. By the time when you are ending up reading this, you must be able to setup a Poll application or a Password authentication system or a quiz or a a discussion forum or any other kind of application with Back-end database support.

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ASP is the web implementation and the subset of VBScript developed by Microsoft. The scripts are used to make the HTML page dynamic and to connect & send the data to the databases. ASP scripts are run at the web server. The scripts can collect the data from the HTML forms {link} and can send them to the databases to store them. ASP is used to create dynamic, fast and interactive web sites. If you have are running a small business your web site and if you want to give some dynamism to your web site ASP is a good choice. Moreover you can use the free ASP scripts, to fit into your budget. ASP is vary easy to learn and ASP scripts not complicated to install.

2. Environment you need

If you want to use ASP script, the basic need that you should have is a Microsoft Environment. That is, You need a Windows operating system. It can be any one of the following. Windows 98, NT Workstation, me, windows 2000 Professional, Windows CE, Windows NT Server or Windows 2000 server. If you are not in windows Environment then you can not use ASP. There is an exception which we can see in the chapter "ASP for Non-Windows users" . Then the second need is a web server.Web server is an application tightly coupled with the Operating system. Internet Information Server(IIS) is the mostly used Web server for windows environment to run your ASP. A web server usually interprets you script and do the necessary action on it, and finally will send you the results to the web Browser. Here is the table of Operating systems and the Web servers for them. Read the other article in this site which explains you everything about the web servers and compares the available web servers.

Windows 95,98,me,CE,NT Workstation Personal Web Server(PWS)
Windows NT Server Internet Information Server 4.0(IIS)
Windows 2000 Pro, Windows 2000 Server, XP Professional Internet Information Server 5.0 (Internet Information Services)

3. Databases - Some Concepts

Databases are storage containers(files), helps us to store and retrieve data in specific format. Let us discuss this with an example. Through HTML forms we can collect information from the visitor who fills in and sending it, to our mail box or into a database. You can retrieve the information collected and stored in the database later whenever you want. ASP files are normally get and store data in MS Access or MS SQL server databases. But we can use other Databases like Oracle or mySQL also.

4. Downloading and unzipping

Most of the ASP scripts are coming in .Zip format, unzip them first and store it under your site directory. For example if you install a poll in your site and your site files are under D:\oursite then create a folder poll under that directory and store the unzipped file there.

5. Preparing the web server

You can Install the scripts directly in your hosting company web server or you can install in your machine and test it first. If you want to test it in your local machine prepare the web server first. Personal web server can be downloaded from Microsoft's web site and IIS 4.0 Can be installed from the Option Pack. IIS 5.0 comes with its Operating systems by default. Just browse http://localhost/ or http://your_computer_name/ or your IP address, for example is your using your web browser(IE or Netscape). You can see your computer's name at Right mouse click on Mycomputer->Properties->Network Identification->Properties. Now IIS/PWS will send the file default.asp of the default web site to the Browser. If you want to know where this file is physically located, You need to open IIS. IIS will be there under the administrative tools, and you need to have the administrator privileges to open IIS. This is not applicable for PWS.
Now you will get the Microsoft Management Consol(MMC) Panel (in 2000 it is called Internet Information Services)where you can see the web site. Here we can setup the web sites. Remember you can set only one site in PWS and IIS of Win 2000 Pro/NT workstation. So you need to create Virtual directories to setup your site/application. But in the case of windows NT or 200 server you can host multiple web sites with multiple IPs.

If you just install the script in your remote web server you do not have to do any preparations. Just FTP all the files and so the following.

II Action steps

6. FTP - How to?

If you already know how to FTP then you can skip this section. FTP is file Transfer Protocol which is used to Transfer your Local Files into your remote Server. You can use FTP tools like WS_FTP or Cute FTP to upload files into your web server. Before FTPing your files you need to do the customization in the scripts. We will learn one by one in this article.

7. Setting up the Database

If your ASP application is a database driven then there will be a database file that comes along with the script. Let us assume yours' is a Poll script and you have a poll_database.mdb (MS access database file). Follow the steps to setup your Database first.

1. Create a folder on your server. The folder path could be like d:\site_db. Pretty easy. Just create a folder called "site_db"
in your general D drive.
2. Place the database, poll_database.mdb in this folder. You don't
have to set up any special permissions on this folder.
3. Create a SYSTEM DSN (a data source name that is specific to
the machine on which it resides). To do this, do these:

b: ODBC (maybe 32-Bit ODBC, depending on how your machine
named it)
c: Click on the tab marked SYSTEM DSN.
d: Click on ADD
e: Microsoft Access Driver, then FINISH
f: in Data Source Name(DSN) box, type 'poll'
g: Click the SELECT Button
h: Go to D:\site_db in the right window
i: Select Discussion.mdb in the left Window
j: You should see the filename next to "Database"
list the file D:\site_db\poll_database.mdb
k: Click OK
l: Now you should see poll_database in the list of sources
m: Click OK
n: You're done setting up the Data Source.

Remember, If you are hosting your web site with a third party hosting server, they will setup the DSN for you and you don't have to.

8. DSN and DSN less Connection

DSN is Data Source Name. If the Application you are installing needs a DSN then you have to setup as mentioned in the above step. But how to find whether the script needs a DSN or Not.

There are two ways.

ONE: If the script writer gives a readme.txt or install.txt file along with the scripts, there should be a line mentioning about the DSN and how to set it up. Otherwise you need to find it in a hard-core way. First open the Global.asa file. Find if under the Application_Onstart() event the DSN details are mentioned are not. If they mentioned you can find some code like what I am giving below.

Set ObjConn = Server.createObject("ADODB.Connection")
strConn = "DSN=NWDSN;Database=Northwind;"
ObjConn.open strConn

Replace the DSN and the Database in the second line with your DSN and the database names. So it could be like,
strConn = "DSN=polldsn;Database=poll_database;"

TWO:If you are not able to find the line DSN anywhere then the application connects with database as DSNless. Here all you need to do is just change the database name as yours and leave the rest.

9. Setting up the scripts and customizing

After doing all the above mentioned you are ready to run the script now. Just open the default.asp (or the file mentioned in the installation help file) from your web server. You can right click on the file at IIS and browse it. Otherwise open the file from the browser. You should type in the address bar, http://server_name/directory/default.asp
Replace the server_name with your server name and directory with the virtual directory you created. If you are in Win NT or 2000 server you may need to browse with the IP and not with the server name, like

10.Using Templates - getting the look and feel

If the script comes with a template file you need open the file with a WYSIWAG editor like Dreamweaver and you can change as you wish. But most of the free scripts do not come with a template file, in that case you need to copy the scripts in the appropriate places inside your HTML code. This needs some experience with HTML and ASP. If you are no sure, you can approach a professional to do this for you.

III Optional

11.COM and dll Registration

COM is Component Object Model. COM is a Microsoft technology which is used to provide an object oriented approach. We can create COM using Visual Basic and the methods from that components can be called from your ASP file. The main use of COM is to protect your code and to reuse. Some of the free/paid scripts comes with some VB ActiveX DLLs which has to be registered in your machine. Let us see with the following step-by-step procedures.

Let us assume that you are installing a Poll script which comes with a DLL called pollcom.dll

1. Create a folder in your server folder called Poll.
Thus, the path will probably be
2. Copy all of the .asp, .asp, and global.asa files
into this directory.
3. Copy pollcom.dll into the directory where you hold
all of your ASP DLL's. On a Win95 machine, this is in
C:\Program Files\WEBSVR\SYSTEM\ASP\Cmpnts. On an NT
it is probably somewhere like Winnt\system or
4. Register the new DLL. To do this, open a command prompt.
CD into the directory where you just moved the pollcom
DLL, and type this:
regsvr32 pollcom.dll
Or Keep the dll in your desktop, and Right mouse click over the file. Then Click Register pollcom.dll
5. A window will probably open letting you know it was
successfully registered. This step can be a bit tricky at
times, but it should go smoothly.
6. You should be ready to go now. Now open up a browser
and type the url,

12.ASP for Non-Windows users

ASP runs best on IIS with NT Server / Windows 2000, But there are some products available which allow you to run ASP on other web servers (and even other platforms).

ChiliSoft : Chilisoft has several ports for other platforms, including O'Reilly's, Apache and Netscape on NT, and a couple even on UNIX.

Halcyon : You can try halcyon also to run ASP.

NodeWorks : Nodeworks provides a module to run ASP on Apache web server.

IV Help

13.Still error Chasing?

I believe you can easily figure out the problem if you know the error type and the steps you need to take at that right time. But still there are plenty of chances that you get errors even after your tiresome hours of work. You might have started thinking now to go for some fresh air, outside. You can do it and come back. Don't worry, most of the script authors provide good support through their forum or by e-mail. As I said, you are lucky if the author himself is ready to install it for you or guide you. I personally feel that a lot of other people are so helpful to offer their help through online discussion forums or Microsoft's newsgroups. You can find some freelancers too, to help you overcome the hurdles. Lots of doorways are there, so never freak out.

As a service Macronimous.com is also doing ASP Installation for any kind of websites. Read out for complete details and price quote.

To read further:

1. Beginners tutorials at ASP at learnasp.com by charles carroll
2. ASP coding tips from 4guysfromrolla.com
3. Installing personal web server from ASP101.com
4. Great FAQ on ASPfaq.com by Aaron Bertran

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