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Creating Dynamic Web Sites with .Net and Dreamweaver MX

Over the last two years Microsoft has been funneling billions into developing and promoting it's new technology: .Net.

In this article you will learn how to format Macromedia's Dreamweaver MX to work with .Net for your Microsoft Web Servers. By the end of this article you will be able to program a .Net web site.


by Matthew David

Over the last two years Microsoft has been funneling billions into developing and promoting it's new technology: .Net. In this article you will learn how to format Macromedia's Dreamweaver MX to work with .Net for your Microsoft Web Servers. By the end of this article you will be able to program a .Net web site.

What is .Net?

April 2002, Microsoft released the much anticipated .Net framework. The .Net framework is a radical departure from previous technologies for Microsoft. The single most significant change is that software can now be built and sold as a service that can be delivered over the Internet.

Other changes that have been addressed by Microsoft is speed, control and scalability. This is all very important when you are developing large scale web sites. The .Net Framework, the name for the complete set of Microsofts new tools,  has a large number of components that allow you to build web sites that display content more rapidly than traditional Active Server Pages; can scale to larger audiences and give you a broader set of tools through which you can develop engaging web sites.

The web development environment for .Net centers around two distinct technologies: ASP.Net and ADO.Net.

ASP.Net is the new incarnation of Microsoft's Active Server Pages, ASP. ASP pages have been the bread and butter for programmers developing web sites that run on Microsofts NT and Windows 2000 Servers. There are many signifcant new changes with ASP.Net over its older cousin, ASP. You could say that the name is the same, but everything is now different beneath the hood.

The first main change is that all of your web pages no longer end in .asp. Your new suffix is .aspx. You will be delighted to know that ASP and ASPX pages can reside on the same server at the same time.

The second largest change can be seen with the code in your pages. ASP pages mix all of the code you need to access content from databases, COM Objects, formatting and style into one page - this is often referred to as spaghetti code. Why? Try finding your way through the code - it is a mess. The new ASP.Net separates Server Side Code from design. This makes it much easier for programmers and designers to work on the same pages without corrupting each others development.

The final big change for developers with ASP.Net is the inclusion of two new programming technologies: VB.Net and C#. VB.Net is a new iteration of Microsoft's Visual Basic Technology. There are a lot of similarities with VB.Net and the Visual Basic 6. On the other hand, C# is a completely new technology. C# is based upon the industry programming standard C++. This means that there is a correlation between C# and Java. Both technologies are based upon C++. C# is worth learning as it typically performs 10x faster than VB.Net. You can think of C# as the sports car tearing through the Internet.

The second technology that you need to know when you are working with .Net is ADO.Net. ADO.Net is an acronym for Active Data Object. Essentially, ADO.Net allows you to connect to databases. While ADO.Net may not be as visually stunning as ASP.Net you do need ADO.Net to connect to your databases.

For the designer a new set of programming languages is just another thing you have to learn, damn it. Just when you got the knack of building those ASP (Active Server Pages) pages along comes a brand, spanking new technology that is just so cool and efficient you got to get in to it. So how do you get in to?

Macromedia has been working closely with Microsoft. The result is evident within the new Macromedia Dreamweaver MX. Dreamweaver MX now supports the database technologies first introduced with Dreamweaver UltraDev. This includes Server Behaviors, Data Sets and Connecting to Databases.

UltraDev allowed you to create database driven sites for Active Server Pages, ColdFusion and Java Server Pages. Now, Dreamweaver MX allows you to create .Net pages (and they can be either VB.Net or C#).

Matthew David

Matthew David has been developing Flash based applications for over 6 years (that makes him very old in this business!). Examples of his work can be found at his web site www.matthewdavid.ws, or you can email him directly at mdavid@email.com.

Matthew’s most recent publications include content for Flash 5 Magic, Inside Dreamweaver 4, Flash 5: Visual FX, Web Publishing Bible and The Dreamweaver Bible. You can also see him popping up in many online magazines, such as Sitepoint.com, Windowatch.com, UDzone.com and DevX.com.

Currently, Matthew is working on two books and writing articles for Element K Journal’s Macromedia Solutions magazine. He is a available as a freelance consultant to work on web based projects.

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Comments

Now I'm confused.

November 21, 2002 by Owen Eastwick

I'm looking to make the transition from ASP/VBScript to ASP.net. Naturally I want to use the best possible variation and implement best practices from the outset. So which language should I choose VB.net or C#?

Here it states: C# is worth learning as it typically performs 10x faster than VB.Net.

However in this article: http://www.aspfaqs.com/aspfaqs/ShowFAQ.asp?FAQID=185, it states:
What language is the "best" language choice? If you are a VB wizard, should you take the time to learn C# or continue to use VB.NET? Are C# ASP.NET pages "faster" than VB.NET ASP.NET pages? These are questions that you may find yourself asking, especially when you're just starting to delve into .NET. Fortunately the answer is simple: there is no "best" language. All .NET languages use, at their root, functionality from the set of classes provided by the .NET Framework. Therefore, everything you can do in VB.NET you can do in C#, and vice-a-versa. The only differences among languages is merely a syntactical one.

The two articles are completely contradictory - so which is right?

RE: Now I'm confused.

November 21, 2002 by George Petrov
Hi Owen, I have to agree with you as both C# and VB.NET code gets compiled to the CLI (Common Language Infrastructure) they generated almost identical CLI code. So they really run at the approx same speed. I think David had it a bit wrong in its article. In the past this was true for C++ and VB - but not anymore in .NET

RE: RE: Now I'm confused.

November 21, 2002 by Owen Eastwick

Thank you George, that's a relief, while I believe there are still many differences I imagine that moving to VB.net from ASP/VBScript is a slightly smaller step than from ASP/VBScipt to C#.net.

RE: RE: Thanks for the tut. My dreamweaverMX still is not working with .net

December 3, 2002 by Matthew David

Hazelnut,

I just saw your question. I want to make sure that I have the following informtion correct:

  • you are running windows 2000
  • you have installed .NET 1.0
  • you are running MDAC 2.6+
  • you have Dreamweaver configured to develop for ASP.NET

As with ASP the .NET world can be a huggling act. I just want to make sure that everything is correct.

Matt

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