Mental Model: Where Everything Goes
We find that the biggest problem in learning ASP stems from not having a firm understanding of where files go and how to execute ASP scripts. Unlike the other tutorials, in which all development and testing took place on your PC, you develop ASP scripts on your PC, but to test them you need to first upload the scripts, any associated HTML files, and your database to your web server (see Figure 2).
Figure 2 The big picture: Where files go and information flows.
For our guest book example, this means that before we can even test its ASP scripts (insert.asp and retrieve.asp), we need to upload the scripts, the HTML form (guestbook.html), and the database (visualtutorial.mdb), as shown in Step 0 in Figure 2.
Users execute ASP scripts indirectly by submitting a form, or directly by typing the web address of an ASP script into their browser, something like this (step 1 in Figure 2):
The web server fetches and executes the code (step 2 in Figure 2), and then sends the results, formatted as HTML, to the user's browser (step 3 in Figure 2). Thus, the user never sees your ASP programming code—just the results, formatted as an HTML document.
With that brief introduction to the big picture, let's review the problem we're trying to use ASP scripting to solve.