Classic Active Server Pages is a still a powerful and flexible way of building websites. The VBScript language is easy to learn and it requires only a text editor to write the web pages. The one drawback to ASP was that making the website look the same on every page was tedious work and it was difficult to make cosmetic changes. Standardizing the look and feel on a website can be difficult. Using the code of an existing website for a different site with a different layout can be impossible.
Many programmers tried to solve the templating issue using ASP’s file include mechanism and that solved part of the problem. Putting different parts of the layout into include files helped but it also spread out the code making maintenance more difficult. If you know anything about ASP include files you know that they are not dynamic – you can’t include one “on the fly” so to speak. Changing the look and feel of a website at runtime was limited to CSS style sheets.
The templating problem in Classic ASP has been solved and the solution is free for any programmer to use. The KudzuASP template engine allows Classic ASP programmers the ability to use HTML template files in the same way that ASP.NET programmers use Master Pages. When using KudzuASP the layout of the website is stored in a simple HTML document that uses special markup tags. KudzuASP uses these markup tags to make high speed function calls back to your ASP page at the points in the template where content is needed to “fill in the blanks”. The result is a highly flexible methodology that allows the HTML template to drive the layout process. If you need to make a change to the layout of an entire website you only need to make that change in the template.
What about that other challenge of changing the look and feel of the website at runtime. KudzuASP beats the old include files method hands down. You can have a completely different look and feel based upon who logged in, what group they belong to, the season of the year or even the time of day — for any reason. When the moment arrives to write the webpage out to the browser you simply specify a different HTML template from the file system or database – it’s that easy!
KudzuASP is a flexible system that provides a lot of templating features like iteration, substitution, conditional inclusion and exclusion of content. It was designed using a flexible component architecture that makes writing and installing your own components incredibly easy. One of the best things about KudzuASP is that it is Open Source and free to use in personal and commercial websites.