Development Platforms

Just as important as the built-in support within the ISAPI and deployment environments are the languages compatible with the IIS 6 platform. You have two choices within IIS 6 (and in previous versions)?those available through the ASP/ASP.NET system and those available separately through the CGI and ISAPI filter systems.

The .NET Framework is probably the biggest change in terms of deployment with IIS 6 and provides a number of significant benefits and advances over previous development and deployment options.

Through .NET

The .NET Framework is really a combination of a number of different technologies all designed to work together to provide better cooperation, integration, and faster development times. The basic core of the idea is the use of Internet technologies to enable better cooperation between components and an improvement over the object-based models, such as the Distributed Component Object Model (DCOM).

.NET doesn't replace COM/DCOM (yet), but does make it easier for the components to talk to each other. Languages that support the .NET development environment create code in Intermediate Language (IL). When an application is executed, the IL is used as the basis for the execution.

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For a quick refresher on the .NET Framework, go to the Delta Guide series Web site at and enter article ID# A020601.

The Common Language Runtime (CLR) is the API that provides the core API for communicating with the different components, such as ADO.NET for database access.

Because the IL accesses the CLR, we have access to the entire suite of .NET functionality from any language that supports .NET and produces IL compatible code. This means that ASP.NET applications can also be written in any .NET supporting language.

At the time of writing (August 2003), more than 25 languages were certified compatible with .NET, including

  • Visual Basic/VB.NET

  • C/C++

  • C# (a new object and .NET aware variation on C)

  • Java

  • J# (a new .NET aware variation on Java)

  • Perl (through the ActivePerl/VisualPerl products from ActiveState)

  • Python (through the ActivePython/VisualPython products from ActiveState)

  • JScript.NET

With such a wide array of languages available, it should be easy to find developers, easy for the developers to choose the language they prefer to work in, and easy to deploy the application to your servers, regardless of the source language. In fact, in many situations, deploying an ASP.NET application is as simple as copying over the files in question?no additional installation of software or components is required.

Independent Options

Pretty much any language is supported through IIS 6?as in previous versions?through the common gateway interface (CGI). Beyond the standard offerings available through ASP.NET, the most common continue to be supported through IIS 6:

  • Perl? This is available in both CGI and ISAPI compatible alternatives through the ActivePerl distribution from ActiveState.

  • Python? Also available from ActiveState (as ActivePython) for use with IIS.

  • PHP? Available in an ISAPI compatible state from