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Learning ASP Series – Installing Personal Web Server

Written By: Amrit Hallan

Welcome to the first chapter of your Basic ASP Learning Series.

I mostly communicate on a personal level, so it’s better we
acquaint ourselves in the beginning. My name is Amrit Hallan and
I’m a web developer. I work through my web site -
http://www.bytesworth.com. I’m not a nerd (and don’t want to be)
and most of my knowledge has come to me piecemeal through lots of
hard work and interaction with my other developer friends. I don’
t think it’d be fair to say that I’m an authority on ASP but yes,
I have a few satisfied clients in my portfolio and I know enough
to get you started. By the time you are through with these daily
chapters, you’ll have learnt enough to make a small shopping cart
in ASP.

Most of the chapters will be organized in a linear fashion, so
that you always have to work according to your previously
acquired knowledge. Sometimes I’ll sound like writing the entire
chapter in a bulleted form, but that’ll be just to keep the
unnecessary (I mean that is out of the scope of this reference)
stuff out.

I wish I could know your name too. But I don’t know how many
people are going to read this. If you want to let me know that
YOU are the one at the moment reading this, you are welcome to
send me a friendly message at mailto:amrit@bytesworth.com. I love
to hear from people (ok, the word “people” excludes Spammers -
they are not people).

Enough of my warming up. Here we go with the first chapter.

Installing Personal Web Server

==> Beginning of Chapter One <==

If you want to work with ASP (Active Server Pages) on your
personal computer, you need to install the Personal Web Server
(PWS). As the name indicates, it’s a server. Unlike the normal
HTML pages, dynamic pages (either created with CGI, PHP, ASP or
Cold Fusion) require some sort of a server to carry on their
business. Without a server, you can create a dynamic page, but
you cannot view it decently in the run-time mode.

Since I mostly work with the Active Server Pages using PWS, I’ll
tell you how to install the PWS.

It ships free with the Win98 CD, and should be in the add-ons
folder.

>From there, install the PWS on your computer. The installation
program creates a folder, inetpub in the directly you specify
during the installation. This inetpub, further has a folder,
wwwroot. So if you install your PWS on your C drive, the wwwroot
path should be

C:INETPUBWWWROOT

All the files that you create, you store under wwwroot. What we
generally do is, we create separate folders for separate projects
under the wwwroot folder. So if I created bytesworth folder in
wwwroot folder, the full path should be

C:INETPUBWWWROOTBYTESWORTH

And when I have to view the page on my browser, I’ll have to type

http://localhost/bytesworth

as the URL.

After you’ve installed the PWS, it’s icon appears on your
desktop, and at the bottom right of your screen. Click or
double-click on the icon. On the main window, you should see the
message:

Web publishing is on. Your Home page is available at
http://servername

The servername is the name you use instead of localhost. But if
you are confused about this name game, just use localhost and it
should always work if you haven’t been naughty and messing around
with your computer’s basic setup.

Before you proceed further, open the Windows Explorer, go to
c:inetpubwwwroot and create a new folder here by the name of
“learnASP” (how boringly predictable! So you can name it
something else). We’ll be storing ALL our files in this folder.

Hence, whenever we want to run a newly created file, we’d type in
the location bar:

http://localhost/learnASP/newfile.asp and press Enter.

Ok, next, click on the Advanced tab. Select Enable Default
Document

In the Default Document(s) box, type the list of file names you
would like to use as your default file once the name of your site
is type in the browser.

If you have no idea what’s the default file, it is the file that
answers your call when you type a specific URL without a specific
file. For instance, if I type http://www.bytesworth.com the file
that actually gets loaded by default is DEFAULT.ASP. This depends
on the setting. Some servers use INDEX.ASP or INDEX.HTML or
INDEX.SHTML. It all depends on the file parsing set up on your
web-hosting server.

Then click on the Edit Properties button, after selecting the
Home folder. There are three select boxes, viz., “Read”,
“Execute”, “Script”. Select all of them. The selections tell the
server that we want to execute server side scripts in our ASP
pages. ASP pages won’t run if the server can’t read and execute
them.

Close the window, and your PWS is running. Of course do not run
two servers simultaneously. So if you installed the Apache Web
Server and left it running, and then loaded PWS, there is going
to be some problem for you to sort out.

About the Author

Amrit Hallan is a freelance web designer. For all web site
development and web promotion needs, you can get in touch with
him at http://www.bytesworth.com. For more such articles,
visit http://www.bytesworth.com/articles and
http://www.bytesworth.com/learn.

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