Beginning ASP Databases
Not for the certification-minded, this book teaches you the basics for building database-driven Web apps.
This book follows Beginning Active Server Pages,
and is next in the Wrox learning path for Web application development.
It isn't aimed at any particular Microsoft certification, although
some of the material is applicable to InterDev or VB Enterprise
exams because of the coverage given to ADO and components. The book's
primary goal is to enable developers who have some programming,
database, and ASP/HTML experience to begin building database-driven
If you're looking for enterprise-development
assistance, this isn't the appropriate book as neither Microsoft
Transaction Server (MTS) nor data access component development are
covered. For that type of development, I'd recommend a title, such
as the Wrox publication Professional MTS and MSMQ Programming with
VB and ASP. However, if you're just trying to get started on some
basic intranet or Internet database applications that don't require
a large degree of scalability or huge numbers of connections, this
is your book. For someone like myself, experienced in traditional
client-server databases but not with ASP-type development, this
book was just the recipe I needed to begin developing an Intranet
help-desk database application for my current workplace.
The author John Kauffman meets the goal he outlines
in the beginning: To provide the information needed to build basic
Web database applications without inundating the reader with non-essential
details. Mr. Kauffman is an experienced teacher, which shows in
his writing style. It was amazing, almost mystical, how questions
that popped up in my mind while reading one section would be answered
on the next page or in the next exercise. It was reminiscent of
the old cartoons where the character hears an ad on the radio and
then asks a question and the announcer proceeds to answer it. Each
chapter builds methodically on the prior chapter, so I don't recommend
skipping ahead unless you're looking for very specific technical
information. I found several specific items particularly beneficial:
Extensive coverage is given to the ADO errors
collection. An entire chapter is devoted to this, along with
numerous sample ASP pages for trapping and handling errors.
The ADO tips and tricks saved me from writing
a bunch of unnecessary code and saved a ton of time.
Even though the book is aimed at beginners,
examples of relevant, advanced topics were covered at an understandable
level. This included utilization of stored procedures and working
with irregular data (BLOBs, image, etc).
I always try to balance my reviews with negative
as well as positive observations, but that's difficult in this case.
For one thing, I didn't find any errors—that doesn't mean there
aren't any, but I didn't find them. Regarding the technical content,
I have only a couple of suggestions:
A disclaimer regarding how far to go with
direct database access from ASP should be given. A reader could
get a false sense of security that large database applications
can be built entirely with ASP. Large Web database applications
typically require a middle-tier, based on custom components
written in C++ or VB to access the data.
The equating of parameterized MS Access queries
with SQL stored procedures is a little tenuous. Although they
may look the same from ADO, they're internally different. Stored
procedures have more processing power and flexibility and can
return output parameters as well as result sets.
Overall, I found this book extremely helpful
and timely, and heartily recommend it to anyone who needs to get
started on Web database application development. As with all Wrox
books, you can get the sample code from its Web site (www.wrox.com)
even if you don't buy the book.
Robert Leithiser, MCDBA, MCSD, MCSE+I, MCT, OCP
DBA is a database consultant/technical trainer currently residing in Montgomery, Alabama. In his spare time, he takes his family on outings to Barnes and Nobles to read books.