Developer

Four Guys From Rolla has the ASP goods

Looking for a good Active Server Pages programming reference site? The 4GuysFromRolla Web site may be just what the doctor ordered.


"When you think ASP, think 4Guys" is the slogan for 4GuysFromRolla.com, a good destination for Active Server Pages information. The site with the funny name is regularly updated with new goodies for ASP programmers, so if you can work around some occasional problems with their content, you should check back often for new stuff. Figure A has your at-a-glance review.

 
Figure A

4GuysFromRolla.com
http://www.4GuysFromRolla.com

Cost Free
Audience Beginner to Advanced
Covers ASP, ASP+, and ASP.NET programming plus related technologies.
Highs Frequent updates and very active discussion forums.
Lows Some articles are poorly edited or otherwise hard to read.
Features News: uuForums: uuSearch:
Rating u u

A familiar model
The 4Guys Web site is updated with a new original ASP programming article at least weekly. As of this review, current offerings include a how-to article about deleting files using the FileSystemObject, a message board discussion summary on the best location for business logic in an ASP application, and an article introducing .NET's application deployment features. These range from full-blown technical articles running about a page and a half in length, to shorter tips, which are sometimes located on another site. The articles are generally topical and informative but sometimes suffer from poor spelling or other grammatical problems.

The site's article archive lists all articles posted on the site, going way back to its early days in 1998. The archive listings are sortable by date and subject. You'll appreciate that fact when trying to locate the article you thought was mildly interesting a few months ago but that has developed sudden, pressing importance to you. You know, that one you really meant to bookmark but didn't.

In addition to featured technical articles, 4Guys hosts a set of very active technical message boards. According to statistics available on the site, the message boards average more than 330 posts per day. There are numerous forums dedicated to questions on topics such as ASP programming, ASP.NET, database access, HTML, JScript, regular expressions, COM, and XML. Naturally, the forums with the most direct relationships to ASP are the most active, although most of the site's forums see at least a few new messages daily. Just so you don't have to worry about missing anything really important, the site posts articles summarizing particularly interesting discussions, not unlike another developer community Web site we all know and love.

Of searching questions, oldie and newbie
The law of the FAQ states this: If you have a question, chances are, at some point in the past, someone else has already asked it. With that idea in mind, 4Guys also hosts ASPFAQs.com, which is a massive categorized compilation of frequently asked ASP development questions. The questions you'll find here lean toward the newbie side ("How do I install Personal Web Server?" or "How can I show an alert box in an ASP page?"). All are answered clearly and with liberal example code where appropriate. The individual FAQs are sorted into categories, making them relatively easy to browse and discover answers to questions you might not have known you had.

The site's search feature works well, returning relevant hits from both the article and FAQ archives on multiple word searches with a minimum of useless noise. In fact, 4Guys is so proud of their search engine they wrote an article describing how it works, complete with source code. How's that for confidence?

If you’re doing ASP programming, you owe it to yourself to check out 4GuysFromRolla.com. We give it three flags.

 

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