The first thing you need to learn ASP is the window
operating system. This includes windows 95/98, windows NT (server or
workstation), or Windows 2000. While Windows 95/98 and Windows NT workstation
support ASP they should not be used for production websites that receive a lot
of traffic. For learning ASP Windows 95/98 will work fine, however there are
some things that you will not be able to do, because only NT server has the
support. These include using CDNOTS to send email and also some security things.
Overall Windows 95/98 works well as a development, learning, and test platform.
The next thing that you will need is the NT Option pack
or Personal web server. This is a free download available from Microsoft.
The download is large at 31mb so it is best done over a fast connection. If you
have NT or Windows 98 it may also be on the installation disks included with
your computer. Look for an NT Option Pack disk with NT. With Windows 98 it is
located in the PWS directory on the Windows 98 intall disk. You can also check
your local newsstand as some magazines contain NT Option Pack. Some ASP books
will also include it on the CD. FrontPage also includes it on the CD. While the
link above points to the NT site the download will detect what version of
windows you are using and prompt you to download the correct version. The
installation is pretty straight forward just run setup.exe after you download.
You may be prompted to install Winsock 2.0 if you do not already have it.
As far as a development environment for writing ASP you
can use a normal text editor such as Notepad or WordPad or you can get a
development tool such as Interdev. If you are just starting out and you don't
want to shell out the bucks for Interdev you can use notepad or my personal
You can also use FrontPage or Homesite, however watch out for FrontPage 98
because it sometimes eats (nice for rearranges and destroys) your well formatted
code. FrontPage 2000 does not seem to do this as much.
The only other thing that you need is a basic
understanding of HTML. While this is not required it will help out considerable,
because we are not going to expand upon the HTML used in the tutorials. There
are a lot of great HTML sites out there and there are also a lot of very good
books available. One that I highly recommend isWeb
Design in a Nutshell by Jennifer Niederst,
Richard Koman (Editor) and published by O'Reilly publishing.