Both ASP and JSP technologies let developers separate content generation from layout by accessing components from the page. ASP supports the COM model, while JSP technology provides components based on JavaBeansTM technology or JSP tags.
Extensible JSP Tags
The first difference apparent to any page author are the JSP tags themselves. While both ASP and JSP use a combination of tags and scripting to create dynamic Web pages, JSP technology enables developers to extend the JSP tags available. JSP developers can create custom tag libraries, so page authors can access more functionality using XML-like tags and depend less on scripting. With custom tags, developers can shield page authors from the complexities of page creation logic and extend key functions to a broader range of authors.
Reusability Across Platforms
Developers will also notice the focus on reusability. The JSP components (Enterprise JavaBeansTM, JavaBeans, or custom JSP tags) are reusable across platforms. An Enterprise JavaBean component accessing legacy databases can serve distributed systems on both UNIX and Microsoft Windows platforms. And the tag extension capability of JSP technology gives developers an easy, XML-like interface for sharing packaged functionality with page designers throughout the enterprise.
This component-based model speeds application development because it enables developers to:
Build quick prototype applications using lightweight subcomponents, then integrate additional functionality as it becomes available
Leverage work done elsewhere in the organization and encapsulate it in a JavaBean or Enterprise JavaBean component
The Java Advantage
JSP technology uses the Java language for scripting, while ASP pages use Microsoft VBScript or JScript. The Java language is a mature, powerful, and scalable programming language that provides many benefits over the Basic-based scripting languages. For example, the Java language provides superior performance to the interpreted VBScript or JScript languages. Because they use Java technology and are compiled into Java servlets, JSP pages provide a gateway to the entire suite of server-side Java libraries for HTTP-aware applications.
The Java language makes the developer's job easier in other ways as well. For example, it helps protect against system crashes, while ASP applications on Windows NT systems are susceptible to crashing. The Java language also helps in the area of memory management by providing protection against memory leaks and hard-to-find pointer bugs that can slow application deployment. Plus, JSP provides the robust exception handling necessary for real-world applications.
Applications using JSP technology are easier to maintain over time than ASP-based applications.
Scripting languages are fine for small applications, but do not scale well to manage large, complex applications. Because the Java language is structured, it is easier to build and maintain large, modular applications with it.
JSP technology's emphasis on components over scripting makes it easier to revise content without affecting logic, or revise logic without changing content.
The Enterprise JavaBeans architecture encapsulates the enterprise logic, such as database access, security, and transaction integrity, and isolates it from the application itself.
Because JSP technology is an open, cross-platform architecture, Web servers, platforms, and other components can be easily upgraded or switched without affecting JSP-based applications. This makes JSP suitable for real-world Web applications, where constant change and growth is the norm.
The Java 2 Platform, Enterprise Edition (J2EE) is the Java architecture for developing multitier enterprise applications. As part of J2EE, JSP pages have access to all J2EE components, including JavaBeans and Enterprise JavaBeans components and Java servlets. JSP pages are actually compiled into servlets, so they have all of the benefits of these flexible, server-side Java applications. The J2EE platform containers manage the complexities of enterprise applications, including transaction management and resource pooling.
JSP pages have access to all of the standard J2EE services, including:
JDBCTM API (communicating with relational databases)
JavaMailTM (classes supporting Java-based mail and messaging applications)
Through J2EE, JSP pages can interact with enterprise systems in many ways. J2EE supports two CORBA-compliant technologies: Java IDL and RMI-IIOP. With Enterprise JavaBeans technology, JSP pages can access databases using high-level, object-relational mappings.
Finally, because JSP technology was developed through the Java Community Process, it has wide support from tool, Web server and application server vendors. This enables users and partners take a best-of-breed approach, selecting the best tools for their specific applications while protecting their investment in code and in personnel training.
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