Much has been written and said about the changes .NET poses for Visual Basic programmers, but what about ASP programmers? Certainly ASP.NET brings changes, but are they worth the trouble they represent? In short, is ASP.NET an improvement over ASP? That’s the question we asked members in a recent quick poll, and the answer was a resounding “Yes!”

As you can see by the results shown in Figure A, a whopping 84 percent found ASP.NET to be an improvement over ASP. Of these, 56 percent of respondents qualified it as a great improvement. Only 16 percent said that ASP.NET wasn’t superior to its predecessor, with 4.8 percent saying that things had actually gotten worse.

Figure A
Members say ASP.NET is an improvement.

What’s better?
In response to our poll, we also received feedback from a few members who universally described ASP.NET’s new code-behind programming model as one of the bigger improvements.

Member and contributor Bill Dawson said, “The most significant improvement as far as developers are concerned is the new code-behind model, even if just from an organizational (tidiness) standpoint…. Suddenly server-side developers have this enormous library of incredibly cool functionality—the .NET Framework—at their service to do just about anything: a far cry from the days of untyped VBScript! I would also add that the built-in notion of the ‘postback’ makes coding easier. In classic ASP, if you wanted to use the same page for your form and accept the POST from the form, you had to dedicate a bit of code to make the distinction, whereas now it’s one simple ‘if’ statement.”

Member Dan Fox, also a contributor, listed the new event-driven and object-oriented programming model, off-server session management, and native compilation as a few of the major advantages. He’s also a fan of ASP.NET’s sophisticated caching capabilities.

According to member jeffyjones, writing in response to a recent Live from LA column, the difference between ASP and ASP.NET is, in a word, amazing.

“The other day at work we were talking about how you get Web scripters hooked [on ASP.NET]. I convinced them that the ultimate example is to throw a data grid at them. Bust out the DataReader and bind it to the control…BAM! You’re done. No looping through script to build the table cells or any such nonsense…. When you really start to grasp OOP, it gets even better. I just launched a rich-text editor that puts all of the IE editing functionality into one line of code, and the fact that you can do that really blows people away. That was never something you could do with ASP, PHP, or Perl.”

Share your likes and dislikes

ASP.NET certainly brings a lot of changes and new capabilities to the table. What’s your favorite—or least favorite—new wrinkle? Share your thoughts by posting them to the discussion below or e-mail the editors.