Technical Terms and Definitions

ASP - Software

ASP can mean either Application Service Provider or Active Server Page.

Application Service Provider

An application service provider (ASP) is a company that offers individuals or enterprises access over the Internet to applications and related services that would otherwise have to be located in their own personal or enterprise computers. Sometimes referred to as "apps-on-tap," ASP services are expected to become an important alternative, not only for smaller companies with low budgets for information technology, but also for larger companies as a form of outsourcing and for many services for individuals as well. Early applications include:

  • Remote access serving for the users of an enterprise
  • An off-premises local area network to which mobile users can be connected, with a common file server
  • Specialized applications that would be expensive to install and maintain within your own company or on your own computer

Hewlett-Packard, SAP, and Qwest have formed one of the first major alliances for providing ASP services. They plan to make SAP's popular R/3 applications available at "cybercenters" that will serve the applications to other companies. Microsoft is allowing some companies to offer its BackOffice products, including SQL Server, Exchange and Windows NT Server on a rental, pay-as-you-use basis.

Active Server Page

An Active Server Page (ASP) is an HTML page that includes one or more script (small embedded programs) that are processed on a Microsoft Web server before the page is sent to the user. An ASP is somewhat similar to a Server-side include or a common gateway interface (common gateway interface) application in that all involve programs that run on the server, usually tailoring a page for the user. Typically, the script in the Web page at the server uses input received as the result of the user's request for the page to access data from a database and then builds or customizes the page on the fly before sending it to the requestor.

ASP is a feature of the Microsoft Internet Information Server (Internet Information Server), but, since the server-side script is just building a regular HTML page, it can be delivered to almost any browser. You can create an ASP file by including a script written in VBScript or JScript in an HTML file or by using ActiveX Data Objects (ActiveX Data Objects) program statements in the HTML file. You name the HTML file with the ".asp" file suffix. Microsoft recommends the use of the server-side ASP rather than a client-side script, where there is actually a choice, because the server-side script will result in an easily displayable HTML page. Client-side scripts (for example, with JavaScript) may not work as intended on older browsers.