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Why Use ASP.NET?

Updated: August 22, 2005

Applies To: Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2003 R2, Windows Server 2003 with SP1

Microsoft ASP.NET is more than just the next generation of Active Server Pages (ASP). It provides an entirely new programming model for creating network applications that take advantage of the Internet.

Improved Performance and Scalability

  • Compiled Execution: ASP.NET is much faster than classic ASP, while preserving the "just hit save" update model of ASP. No explicit compile step is required. ASP.NET automatically detects any change, dynamically compiles files if needed, and stores the compiled results to reuse for subsequent requests. Dynamic compilation ensures that your application is always up to date, and compiled execution makes it fast. Most applications migrated from classic ASP to ASP.NET see a 3x to 5x increase in pages served.

  • Rich Output Caching: ASP.NET output caching can dramatically improve the performance and scalability of your application. When output caching is enabled on a page, ASP.NET executes the page once and saves the result in memory before sending it to the user. When another user requests the same page, ASP.NET serves the cached result from memory without re-executing the page. Output caching is configurable, and it can be used to cache individual regions or an entire page.

  • Web Farm Session State: ASP.NET session state lets you share session data across all machines in a Web farm. Now a user can hit different servers in the Web farm over multiple requests and still have full access to session data.

Enhanced Reliability

  • Memory Leak, Dead Lock, and Crash Protection: ASP.NET automatically detects and recovers from errors such as dead locks and memory leaks to ensure that your application is always available. For example, when a memory leak is detected, ASP.NET automatically starts up a new copy of the ASP.NET worker process and directs all new requests to the new process. After the old process has finished processing pending requests, it is gracefully disposed of and the leaked memory is released.

Easy Deployment

  • "No Touch" Application Deployment: With ASP.NET you can deploy an entire application by copying it to the server. Configuration settings are stored in an XML file within the application.

  • Dynamic Update of Running Application: ASP.NET lets you update compiled components without restarting the Web server. Unlike classic COM components that required the Web server to be manually restarted when an update was deployed, ASP.NET automatically detects the change and starts using the new code.

  • Easy Migration Path: ASP.NET runs side by side on IIS with classic ASP applications on Microsoft Windows 2000 and Windows XP, and on members of the Windows Server 2003 family. You can migrate one application at a time, or even single pages. ASP.NET even lets you continue to use your existing classic COM business components.

New Application Models

  • XML Web Services: XML Web services allow applications to communicate and share data over the Internet, regardless of operating system or programming language. ASP.NET makes exposing and calling XML Web services simple.

  • Mobile Web Device Support: ASP.NET mobile controls let you target over 80 mobile Web devices using ASP.NET. You write the application once, and the mobile controls automatically generate pages for the requesting device.

Developer Productivity

  • Easy Programming Model: ASP.NET makes building real-world Web applications dramatically easier with server controls that let you build great pages with far less code than classic ASP.

  • Flexible Language Options. ASP.NET supports not only Microsoft Visual Basic Scripting Edition (VBScript) and Microsoft JScript but also more than 25 .NET languages, including built-in support for Visual Basic .NET, Microsoft C#, and JScript .NET.

  • Rich Class Framework: The .NET Framework class library offers over 4,500 classes that encapsulate rich functionality such as XML, data access, file upload, regular expressions, image generation, performance monitoring and logging, transactions, message queuing, and SMTP mail.

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