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ASP.NET is a unified web development model integrated with .NET framework, designed to provide services to create dynamic web applications and web services. It is built on the Common Language Runtime (CLR) of the .NET framework and includes those benefits like multi-language interoperability, type safety, garbage collection and inheritance.
Mark Anders and Scott Guthrie of Microsoft created the first version of ASP.NET in 1992. It was created to facilitate the development of distributed applications in structured and object-oriented manner by separating the presentation and content and hence write clean code. ASP.NET uses the code-behind model to generate dynamic pages based on Model-View-Controller architecture.
They have some the major differences from ASP, an earlier version of ASP.NET. The object model of ASP.NET has thus significantly improved from ASP, which makes it fully backward compatible to ASP.
These differences include:
1. Usage of compiled code (instead of interpreted code),
2. Event-driven server-side scripting model,
3. State management,
4. Rapid application development using controls and libraries of the .NET framework.
5. Dynamic programming code is placed separately in a file or specially designated tag. This avoids the program code getting modified during runtime.
ASP.NET works with the Internet Information Server (IIS) to deliver the content in response to client requests. While processing the requests, ASP.NET provides access to all .NET classes, custom components and databases, similar to that of a desktop application.
Web forms are the building blocks of application development in ASP.NET. They provide lot of flexibility by allowing controls to be used on a page as objects. These controls can handle events such as Load, Click and Change, similar to those in desktop applications. Other than Web forms, ASP.NET can be used to create XML Web services that can allow building modular, distributed web applications, written in any language.These services are interoperable across variety of platforms and devices.
In addtion, ASP.NET implements state management by sending the information (viewstate) related to state of controls on a web form to the server in a postback request. It provides side-by-side execution applications of multiple denominations allowing them to be installed on the same system with different versions of .NET frameworks. Furthermore, it uses XML support for data storage, configuration and manipulation. However, when it comes to securing its applications, ASP.NET uses the code access security and role based security features of .NET framework and inherent methods of IIS for authenticating user credentials.