Mon, Jul
2 New Articles

Face-off: JSP vs. ASP

  • Smaller Small Medium Big Bigger
  • Default Helvetica Segoe Georgia Times

The popularity of Microsoft’s Active Server Pages (ASP), a widely used server-side scripting technology, has recently been threatened by Sun Microsystems’ new JavaServer Pages (JSP) scripting technology. Sun formally announced the JSP specification just this past June. Sun’s JSP, however, isn’t the only scripting technology competing against Microsoft’s ASP; there is also IBM’s Net.Data and Netscape’s Server-Side JavaScript. But just what is server-side scripting anyway? Which of the four versions of server-side scripting is the best option?

What Is Server-side Scripting?

Scripting languages initially became successful on the client side of Internet applications.

Functions were embedded into HTML pages using Netscape’s JavaScript, Microsoft’s JScript, or Microsoft’s VBScript. Web browsers would parse and execute the code of these functions to perform basic chores like editing user-entered fields or jazzing up the look of a Web page.

Server-side scripting languages, on the other hand, are parsed by the Web server rather than the Web browser. The host-executed script dynamically generates HTML that is sent to the browser.

The Web browser never sees the server-side script code, only the dynamically generated HTML. Prior to server-side scripting, Common Gateway Interface (CGI) programs dynamically generated HTML to include variable information from business databases. The problem with CGI, however, was that HTML was embedded in the high- level language (HLL) program. Server-side scripting languages separate presentation from programming—that is, the tasks of Web designers from the tasks of business programmers.

Take Your Pick

There are now four prevalent server-side scripting technologies. Each has its advantages and disadvantages.

Netscape’s Server-Side JavaScript (which was called LiveWire until Netscape renamed it to benefit from Java’s popularity) is a nice solution because JavaScript is already

a popular language; even Microsoft supports JavaScript as JScript in its browser. But Server-Side JavaScript requires Netscape Enterprise Server.

IBM’s Net.Data is truly a cross-platform (if vendor-specific) product because it is available on all IBM-supported platforms, including NT, Solaris, and Linux. Net.Data is a great product, but it is even slower than CGI. It’s been said that converting Net.Data to CGI improves performance by several factors.

Microsoft’s ASP, which uses VBScript (a subset of Visual Basic) as its scripting language, can call Component Object Model (COM) objects written in any
language—provided they run on a platform that supports Microsoft’s COM. ASP technology would be considered platform- and vendor-specific if it weren’t for a couple of products that support ASP on a variety of other platforms. Halcyon’s Interactive ASP (iASP), for instance, supports ASP on the AS/400, but the curious thing about iASP is that the technology that allows your Microsoft ASP to run on your AS/400 is JSP; your ASP are converted and then executed as JSP.

Sun’s JSP technology is both cross-platform and multi-vendor, but it forces developers to use an all-Java programming model because it can make native calls only to Java classes or JavaBeans. The specification for JSP comes from Sun, but support for JSP is already available from a wide base of vendors, most notably IBM.

So which server-side scripting technology should you use? If your company’s Internet infrastructure is Microsoft-centric, then ASP has many benefits; otherwise, JSP, with its cross-platform, multi-vendor support, may be the more viable technology. Pankaj Chowdhry, of PC Week Labs, pointed this out in a recent online article (August 2, 1999, www.zdnet.com/pcweek/images/stories/news/ 0,4153,410709,00.html): “JSP won’t tempt many Windows users from their ASP/COM architecture, but its elegant simplicity will make it a hit with Web developers who want to wash their hands of HTML presentation.”

Sun’s Web site features a chart that compares ASP with JSP (java.sun.com/products/jsp/jsp-asp.html). The first item of that chart points out that less than 23 percent of Web servers are running Microsoft’s Internet Information Server (IIS), which is required to use ASP, whereas more than 85 percent of Web servers support JSP. Even Microsoft’s IIS supports JSP through third-party add-ons like LiveSoftware’s JRun.


With the ever-changing technologies available for Internet applications, it is getting more and more difficult to pick a strategy. For server-side scripting strategy, should you use the proven but Microsoft-specific ASP technology or should you go with the new JSP technology? Glenn van der Burg, Managing Director for New Media Group (NMG), chose JSP, and he told Sun why in a recent interview: “Because of JSP technology and the use of beans, we can create a dynamic website for our customers in no time.” (See java.sun.com/products/jsp/success.html.) Developers at NMG chose JSP because of its platform independence. They believe Java will be the “new standard in Internet application engineering” and that JSP technology is also “future-proof.”

Future-proof? What a concept. Isn’t that what we all want our applications and our careers to be?



Support MC Press Online


Book Reviews

Resource Center

  • SB Profound WC 5536 Have you been wondering about Node.js? Our free Node.js Webinar Series takes you from total beginner to creating a fully-functional IBM i Node.js business application. You can find Part 1 here. In Part 2 of our free Node.js Webinar Series, Brian May teaches you the different tooling options available for writing code, debugging, and using Git for version control. Brian will briefly discuss the different tools available, and demonstrate his preferred setup for Node development on IBM i or any platform. Attend this webinar to learn:

  • SB Profound WP 5539More than ever, there is a demand for IT to deliver innovation. Your IBM i has been an essential part of your business operations for years. However, your organization may struggle to maintain the current system and implement new projects. The thousands of customers we've worked with and surveyed state that expectations regarding the digital footprint and vision of the company are not aligned with the current IT environment.

  • SB HelpSystems ROBOT Generic IBM announced the E1080 servers using the latest Power10 processor in September 2021. The most powerful processor from IBM to date, Power10 is designed to handle the demands of doing business in today’s high-tech atmosphere, including running cloud applications, supporting big data, and managing AI workloads. But what does Power10 mean for your data center? In this recorded webinar, IBMers Dan Sundt and Dylan Boday join IBM Power Champion Tom Huntington for a discussion on why Power10 technology is the right strategic investment if you run IBM i, AIX, or Linux. In this action-packed hour, Tom will share trends from the IBM i and AIX user communities while Dan and Dylan dive into the tech specs for key hardware, including:

  • Magic MarkTRY the one package that solves all your document design and printing challenges on all your platforms. Produce bar code labels, electronic forms, ad hoc reports, and RFID tags – without programming! MarkMagic is the only document design and print solution that combines report writing, WYSIWYG label and forms design, and conditional printing in one integrated product. Make sure your data survives when catastrophe hits. Request your trial now!  Request Now.

  • SB HelpSystems ROBOT GenericForms of ransomware has been around for over 30 years, and with more and more organizations suffering attacks each year, it continues to endure. What has made ransomware such a durable threat and what is the best way to combat it? In order to prevent ransomware, organizations must first understand how it works.

  • SB HelpSystems ROBOT GenericIT security is a top priority for businesses around the world, but most IBM i pros don’t know where to begin—and most cybersecurity experts don’t know IBM i. In this session, Robin Tatam explores the business impact of lax IBM i security, the top vulnerabilities putting IBM i at risk, and the steps you can take to protect your organization. If you’re looking to avoid unexpected downtime or corrupted data, you don’t want to miss this session.

  • SB HelpSystems ROBOT GenericCan you trust all of your users all of the time? A typical end user receives 16 malicious emails each month, but only 17 percent of these phishing campaigns are reported to IT. Once an attack is underway, most organizations won’t discover the breach until six months later. A staggering amount of damage can occur in that time. Despite these risks, 93 percent of organizations are leaving their IBM i systems vulnerable to cybercrime. In this on-demand webinar, IBM i security experts Robin Tatam and Sandi Moore will reveal:

  • FORTRA Disaster protection is vital to every business. Yet, it often consists of patched together procedures that are prone to error. From automatic backups to data encryption to media management, Robot automates the routine (yet often complex) tasks of iSeries backup and recovery, saving you time and money and making the process safer and more reliable. Automate your backups with the Robot Backup and Recovery Solution. Key features include:

  • FORTRAManaging messages on your IBM i can be more than a full-time job if you have to do it manually. Messages need a response and resources must be monitored—often over multiple systems and across platforms. How can you be sure you won’t miss important system events? Automate your message center with the Robot Message Management Solution. Key features include:

  • FORTRAThe thought of printing, distributing, and storing iSeries reports manually may reduce you to tears. Paper and labor costs associated with report generation can spiral out of control. Mountains of paper threaten to swamp your files. Robot automates report bursting, distribution, bundling, and archiving, and offers secure, selective online report viewing. Manage your reports with the Robot Report Management Solution. Key features include:

  • FORTRAFor over 30 years, Robot has been a leader in systems management for IBM i. With batch job creation and scheduling at its core, the Robot Job Scheduling Solution reduces the opportunity for human error and helps you maintain service levels, automating even the biggest, most complex runbooks. Manage your job schedule with the Robot Job Scheduling Solution. Key features include:

  • LANSA Business users want new applications now. Market and regulatory pressures require faster application updates and delivery into production. Your IBM i developers may be approaching retirement, and you see no sure way to fill their positions with experienced developers. In addition, you may be caught between maintaining your existing applications and the uncertainty of moving to something new.

  • LANSAWhen it comes to creating your business applications, there are hundreds of coding platforms and programming languages to choose from. These options range from very complex traditional programming languages to Low-Code platforms where sometimes no traditional coding experience is needed. Download our whitepaper, The Power of Writing Code in a Low-Code Solution, and:

  • LANSASupply Chain is becoming increasingly complex and unpredictable. From raw materials for manufacturing to food supply chains, the journey from source to production to delivery to consumers is marred with inefficiencies, manual processes, shortages, recalls, counterfeits, and scandals. In this webinar, we discuss how:

  • The MC Resource Centers bring you the widest selection of white papers, trial software, and on-demand webcasts for you to choose from. >> Review the list of White Papers, Trial Software or On-Demand Webcast at the MC Press Resource Center. >> Add the items to yru Cart and complet he checkout process and submit

  • Profound Logic Have you been wondering about Node.js? Our free Node.js Webinar Series takes you from total beginner to creating a fully-functional IBM i Node.js business application.

  • SB Profound WC 5536Join us for this hour-long webcast that will explore:

  • Fortra IT managers hoping to find new IBM i talent are discovering that the pool of experienced RPG programmers and operators or administrators with intimate knowledge of the operating system and the applications that run on it is small. This begs the question: How will you manage the platform that supports such a big part of your business? This guide offers strategies and software suggestions to help you plan IT staffing and resources and smooth the transition after your AS/400 talent retires. Read on to learn: