Thanks to JR, I found out about Microsoft’s recent introduction of Visual Studio Express Editions (as far as I can tell, it was earlier today) (well, yesterday, now). Basically, they’re lightweight versions of Visual Studio targeted at newbies. I decided that ASP would be my next programmatic venture and I keep meaning to find out what all the fuss is about .NET, so I’m hoping that these Express Editions live up to the lofty claims Microsoft has made about them.

I downloaded the Web Developer installer (or rather, installer downloader - I hate when they do that), but didn’t really have a chance to play with it once it finally finished downloading everything I needed for it. It has a built-in test server, so you can play with ASP applications right on your desktop. The part I’m most interested in is the tutorials, videos, and code samples, because I learn best by seeing actual code. Well, actual code with a little direction tossed in to get me started - sifting through uncommented code in a foreign language won’t get you anywhere.

I loaded it up and played for a couple minutes, but the interface isn’t as intuitive as one might hope. It’s pretty similar to VB 6, so I had a rough good idea of what was going on. However, I’m not familiar with any ASP elements, which dominate the left side (turns out, that Radio Button is no ordinary radio button - it’s an ASP Radio Button!)

Hopefully, I’ll find some time to go through the tutorials this weekend. I really do want to learn ASP, because it seems that a lot of companies use it after all. I’ve got Visual Studio 2005 Professional (thanks to the MSDN Academic Alliance), so I could start “for real,” but the Express version is fully compatible and I’m hoping it will offer more in the way of introduction. Come Thursday, the real meat of my quarter will be over, so I should be able to find some free time for playing after that.