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Web Server Technologies
Bespoke Web Server (non-IIS)We have developed our own Web Server which runs directly on Windows 2000 or NT4 Server and by-passes IIS completely. Initially developed as an alternative for those concerned about security issues with IIS, it has since proved to be a good foundation for development of a dedicated web-services server. Another advantage is that it allows concurrent connection of an unlimited number of HTTP authenticated users without requiring a Microsoft user licence for each.
Internet Information ServerMicrosoft's 'Internet Information Server' serves static (fixed) HTML pages. To go a stage further and link the site to a Database is achieved by running a program each time a Web page is requested.
An 'Internet Server API extension' (ISAPI) allows a specified program on the Web Server to pre-process each page request before the response is served. For high volume applications running on IIS we can create an ISAPI extension specific to your particular needs.
Active Server Pages
'Active Server Pages' is simply Microsoft's own ISAPI extension which is built into IIS; it may not be the fastest or most robust solution but is adequate for most low volume sites. In fact clusters of ASP servers have been used in some quite high volume sites although this approach is not without it's problems.
Web ConnectionWestwind's Web Connection is an ISAPI extension combined with an Internet programming framework for Microsoft Visual FoxPro. It has better performance and reliability than ASP but is not as fast as creating your own dedicated ISAPI extension. It is, however, perfectly suited to most eCommerce applications and medium volume sites.