Introduction

Welcome to this ASP.NET tutorial. According to Microsoft, "ASP.NET is a technology for building powerful, dynamic Web applications and is part of the .NET Framework". This tutorial will teach you ASP.NET from scratch, and no knowledge of any kind of serverside scripting is required. Basic HTML and CSS knowledge is preferable. Having worked with Classic ASP or PHP won't give you much of an advantage, since ASP.NET is a whole new way of doing things.

.NET is language independent, which means you can use any .NET supported language to make .NET applications. The most common languages for writing ASP.NET applications are C# and VB.NET. While VB.NET is directly based VB (Visual Basic), C# was introduced together with the .NET framework, and is therefore a some what new language. Some people call C# "the .NET language", but according to Microsoft, you can do all the same things, no matter if you're using C# or VB.NET. The 2 languages are not that different, and if you have used one of them, you will have no problems at all learning the other. In this tutorial we will use C#.

One of the main differences between ASP.NET and Classic ASP/PHP is the fact that ASP.NET is compiled, while Classic ASP is always interpreted. PHP can be compiled by using commercial products, but usually it's interpreted as well. ASP.NET can be used to create great and functional websites and you can use these good ASP.NET hosting companies for hosting your ASP.NET websites.

This tutorial will use the free Visual Studio Express 2012 IDE from Microsoft. Despite what some people think, ASP.NET can be used without an IDE. It would be perfectly possible to write ASP.NET code in Notepad, and use the commandline compiler included with the .NET framework. Some people might actually prefer this "back to basics" way of doing things, but I believe that ASP.NET is best programmed with a decent IDE. You can use an IDE from another vendor, and you will still be able to follow most of this tutorial. We will use Visual Studio Express 2012 for Web since it's free, quick to install and easy to use. Besides, using a good IDE will make a lot of things faster in the long run.

Now, you can read more about Visual Studio for Web on this page: http://www.microsoft.com/visualstudio/eng/products/visual-studio-express-for-web and download it from this page: http://www.microsoft.com/visualstudio/eng/downloads#d-express-web. The initial download is very small, because the installation is based on which components you already have and which will have to be downloaded. Just execute the file, and you will be guided through the installation. Once installed, start up the application, and proceed to the next chapter.
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