HTTP Handlers

HTTP Handlers

May 11th, 2009|Technical|

Ok…Here is a trick question:
If I ask you to browse to an url like www..com/Login.php
and ask you what kind of technology stack does this company uses. The obvious answer will be LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL and PHP) but guess what !! you are being tricked.

I just wrapped an assignment where I had to have php as file extensions and but had to execute ASPX pages in reality. As an example if user enter an URL as www..com/Login.php in browser, it shall execute www..com/Login.aspx.

ASPX page or webform to be precise is part of ASP.NET framework for web application framework developed by Microsoft, that programmers can use to build dynamic web applications. It was first released as part of Microsoft.NET framework and can be considered as succesor for ASP (Active Server Pages) technology.

We were using IIS as webserver and ASPX pages for presentation. IIS inherently handles and renders only static content like HTML and images. However, it has provision to map handling of files with other extensions like asp, aspx, php or any other custom extension with their handlers. Handlers are server side components installed on IIS server. As an example .NET framework installs handlers for handling web requests for the files with aspx, asmx etc extensions.

Additionally, .NET also provides options to develop http handlers, so we developed a custom http handler and configured in web.config of application to handle above scenario.

There are tons of articles describing use of “HTTP Handlers” with ASP.NET. Following link will be a good starting point if you like to get better understanding on HTTP handlers and IIS:

http://www.15seconds.com/Issue/020417.htm

It was amazingly easy to implement http handlers especially compared to ISAPI implementations in past, which were more definitely much more cumbersome and complicated.