In our last tutorial, we walked through the process of creating a static web page from data stored in an Access database
. That simple method of publishing web pages was adequate for environments where we want a "snapshot" of a database such as a monthly report or where the data rarely changes. However, in many database environments the data changes frequently and we need to offer web users up-to-date information at the click of a mouse.
We can meet these requirements by utilizing Microsoft's Active Server Pages (ASP) technology to create a dynamic server-generated HTML page that links to our database. When a user requests information from an ASP page, the web server reads the instructions contained within the ASP, accesses the underlying database accordingly, and then creates an HTML page that contains the requested information and returns that to the user.
One of the limitations of dynamic web pages is that they can not be used to distribute reports like we did in our static web page tutorial. They can only be used to display tables, queries and forms. In this example, let's create an up-to-the-minute product catalog for our web users.
For the purposes of our example, we'll once again be using the Northwind sample database and Microsoft Access 2000. If you haven't used this sample database in the past, there are simple installation instructions
located on this site. Select it from the menu shown below and click OK to continue.