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MS eases Web server migration

Microsoft wants to make it easy for corporate users to go along with its ActiveX program.

Microsoft (MSFT) wants to make it easy for corporate users to go along with its ActiveX program.

A new free development tool to debut next week is designed to help migrate applications from older versions of Microsoft's Internet Information Server (IIS) to a new version built around ActiveX.

Older versions of IIS have relied on an Internet Database Connector to link the relational databases that store most corporate information to Web servers.

The company's new IIS technology, Active Server Pages, replaces this with a component-based model. This lets developers tie specific database information, such as human resources data, to a component in the Web server so that it is updated automatically whenever the information changes.

To help developers move their applications to the new model, Microsoft is supplying a conversion kit called IDC2ASP that turns Internet Database Connector (IDC) links into Active Server Pages components.

Developers have found Microsoft's IDC technology a bit cumbersome. Using the Active Server Pages model, developers can use any tool that supports ActiveX, such as Microsoft's Visual Basic or Visual C++. or other tools. Thus, a developer can build a component that ties a specific portion of database information to a specific Web page.

"I think there are a lot of people who have made a lot of investment in Internet Database Connector and do not want to feel left behind with Active Server Pages," said Jonathan Perera, a product manager for the Internet Information Server.

Using the new components is easier on developers than the older methodology and therefore enhances Microsoft's long-term strategy to connect databases to the Web, Perera said.

Microsoft partnered with IntraActive Software, an intranet-based software developer that specializes in Web-based access to databases, to provide the IDC2ASP conversion kit.

The IDC2ASP kit is free and will be available Monday. Microsoft also plans to release a new resource kit for IIS 3.0 in four to six weeks that will feature new tools and sample code.