Technical Specifications

Functional Overview

Technical Overview

PACE technical platform is built on the scalable ASP.NET application services architecture, leveraging proven standards to support scalability, extensibility, modularity, integration, and extension for services.

PACE Logical Architecture

What is ASP.NET?

ASP.NET is a programming framework built on the common language runtime that can be used on a server to build powerful Web applications. ASP.NET offers several important advantages over previous Web development models:

  • Enhanced Performance. ASP.NET is compiled common language runtime code running on the server. Unlike its interpreted predecessors, ASP.NET can take advantage of early binding, just-in-time compilation, native optimization, and caching services right out of the box. This amounts to dramatically better performance before you ever write a line of code.
  • World-Class Tool Support. The ASP.NET framework is complemented by a rich toolbox and designer in the Visual Studio integrated development environment. WYSIWYG editing, drag-and-drop server controls, and automatic deployment are just a few of the features this powerful tool provides.
  • Power and Flexibility. Because ASP.NET is based on the common language runtime, the power and flexibility of that entire platform is available to Web application developers. The .NET Framework class library, Messaging, and Data Access solutions are all seamlessly accessible from the Web. ASP.NET is also language-independent, so you can choose the language that best applies to your application or partition your application across many languages. Further, common language runtime interoperability guarantees that your existing investment in COM-based development is preserved when migrating to ASP.NET.
  • Simplicity. ASP.NET makes it easy to perform common tasks, from simple form submission and client authentication to deployment and site configuration. For example, the ASP.NET page framework allows you to build user interfaces that cleanly separate application logic from presentation code and to handle events in a simple, Visual Basic - like forms processing model. Additionally, the common language runtime simplifies development, with managed code services such as automatic reference counting and garbage collection.
  • Manageability. ASP.NET employs a text-based, hierarchical configuration system, which simplifies applying settings to your server environment and Web applications. Because configuration information is stored as plain text, new settings may be applied without the aid of local administration tools. This "zero local administration" philosophy extends to deploying ASP.NET Framework applications as well. An ASP.NET Framework application is deployed to a server simply by copying the necessary files to the server. No server restart is required, even to deploy or replace running compiled code.
  • Scalability and Availability. ASP.NET has been designed with scalability in mind, with features specifically tailored to improve performance in clustered and multiprocessor environments. Further, processes are closely monitored and managed by the ASP.NET runtime, so that if one misbehaves (leaks, deadlocks), a new process can be created in its place, which helps keep your application constantly available to handle requests.
  • Customizability and Extensibility. ASP.NET delivers a well-factored architecture that allows developers to "plug-in" their code at the appropriate level. In fact, it is possible to extend or replace any subcomponent of the ASP.NET runtime with your own custom-written component. Implementing custom authentication or state services has never been easier.
  • Security. With built in Windows authentication and per-application configuration, you can be assured that your applications are secure.

ASP.NET Overview

This section provides an overview of the ASP.NET infrastructure and subsystemrelationships, as they relate to the subject of security. The following illustration shows the relationships among the security systems in ASP.NET.

As the illustration shows, all Web clients communicate with ASP.NET applications through IIS. IIS deciphers and optionally authenticates the request. If Allow Anonymous is turned on, no authentication occurs. IIS also finds the requested resource ( such as an ASP.NET application ), and, if the client is authorized, returns the appropriate resource.

ASP.NET Architecture

ASP.NET uses ISAPI to run on the Internet Information Server (IIS) in Windows 2000 Server. Not only does IIS host ASP.NET but the ISAPI filter mechanism also allows both ASP and ASP.NET to coexist on the same IIS server. (IIS can direct a *.asp page to ASP and a *.aspx page to ASP.NET.)

The configuration of ASP.NET is managed by information stored in XML-format in a configuration file (Web.Config).

The cache allows for improved performance of ASP.NET, as the most commonly requested pages would be served from the ASP.NET cache.

State management services for ASP.NET are provided by the ASP.NET state service.

The .NET Framework provides the Common Language Runtime (CLR), which compiles and manages the execution of ASP.NET code, and the class libraries, which offer prebuilt programmatic functionality for Web Forms, XML support, and exception handling.

ADO.NET provides ASP.NET with connections to databases.

Saro Jahani, CIO, National Stock


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