Wednesday, 25 October, 2000

ASP Problems

Remember I said I was working with ASP (Oct 18)?  I spent a good 8 hours working with it yesterday and today, implementing an example in VBScript for our product's extensibility SDK.  I remember now why I dislike BASIC (or Basic).  The language is pretty irregular.  I wonder if a formal grammar even exists.

For example, to call a subroutine, you can use either one of these methods:

subroutine param1, param2, param3
call subroutine (param1, param2, param3)

But don't try putting parentheses around the parameters if you don't use thecall keyword, or you'll get an error.  There has to be a reason for this oddity in the language, but I've not seen it in any of the books.  Understand, this is just one of the many things that I find strange in the language.

The other problem I have is that the development environment is primitive.  The debugging environment, especially, is terrible.  The best thing I've found so far is what we called "the printf method" when I was writing C code.  Except in VBScript with ASP, it's "Response.Write."  That works fine if you're accessing the ASP page directly (i.e. through your browser), but if you're accessing a CGI that in turn accesses the ASP script that you're trying to debug (it's a distributed computing environment), then you've got problems.  Remember application log files?  Yeah, boy. 

I understand that if I install IIS and the debugging package, that I could do visual debugging with Visual Interdev.  We tried this and actually got it to work, sort of.  But we kept having to reboot the computer because it'd freeze at odd places.  After the fifth or sixth reboot, we went back to the old way.  I'd sure like to get the visual debugger up and running, though.  Perhaps I'll have some time to play with it tomorrow.