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ATL Server Tutorial - TipOfTheDay

, 18 Apr 2001
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Create an ATL Server to generate random tips using a Server Response File

Background

With the growing presence of VisualStudio.NET (VS7), the teams within Microsoft have added many new features into the hands of developers. One of these new features is called an "ATL Server". The ATL Server makes the development of previous ISAPI extension much easier and allows you to only put the logic that you need to into your ATL Server Object and interject the results back into a calling file called a "Server Response File", a file with the extension ".SRF". The ISAPI extension is associated with the file extension at the website or web application level and runs it through it's paces, passing it off to your extension when neccessary or when called.

What Should I Get From This

This articles talks about and walks you through the development of a ATL Server application that you can extend or usein the reference of VS.NET Beta1. In addition you may pick up knowledge on smart pointers, the IXMLDOM* interfaces, the new ATL CString class, and _bstr_t.

Before We Begin

I have also assumed that you can program in C++ and know the fundamentals about ATL, have a basic understanding of HTML, CSS and XML. Also, while the code is fairly clean; I use some conventions that make it easier to step through stages of the applications development and may not neccessarily be the way you would have done it. The code is laid out for easy follow along as this article progresses. An example is the declaration of variables just before they are used.

ATL Server Basics

To read more about the ATL Server architecture search MSDN Online for "ATL Server". One article that will give you an overview is located Here.

ATL Servers are the next step from what ISAPI Extensions were. ATL servers are called by ISAPI extensions to process Server Response Files (.SRF). When an SRF file is encountered the ISAPI Extension passes it to the application DLL (in our case TipOfTheDay.dll) and which then parses it for tokens and processes the found tokens (tags). This is done for each tag found which is then passed to the default ATL Server handler or specified handler which then replaces the tag with the response the tag handler writes to the m_HttpResposne stream at the time of invocation.

There are a handful of tags that can be used in SRF files. The way to identify a tag is by the {{[tag]}} form where "[tag]" is replaced with a some tag name. The ones I will use are

  • handler
    The handler tells the ISAPI extension which ATL Server dll and handler in the dll to use, because ATL Server implementations can have more than one handler in them.
  • include
    The include tag is used to include another file into the SRF stream at that location. This gives you the same idea behind the #include directive in ASP pages. The ISAPI extension will parse the included file for tokens and if any are found will be called for. Unlike ASP #include directives this file is processed independently of the parent and only the resultant stream is inserted into the parent. For this reason, you will need do define a handler token if you are using any handlers from a ATL Server object. We will show this in the Header.SRF section of the project below.
  • [tagname]
    This can be an known tag within the default handler or named handler. Below in our application an example would be, "DisplayVersion". What happens is the ATL Server is called on the tagname and then handler for that tagname is invoked. The implementation then can write anything into the stream for that tag as we shall show.

ATL Server Example - Tip Of The Day

Create The Project

  • Start Visual Studio.NET
  • On the VS Start Page, Click "Create New Project". Or from the IDE Menu Click, File | New | Project... You will see a dialog similar to Figure 1.

 
Figure 1: Visual Studio.NET New Project Dialog

  • In the Project Types treeview, select "Visual C++ Projects". The Templates listview will update.
  • In the Templates listview, select "ATL Server Project"
  • In the Name editbox type "TipOfTheDay"
  • Click the "Ok" button.

 
Figure 2: ATL Server Project Wizard Overview

  • The ATL Server Project Wizard will be started giving overview information similar to Figure 2.
  • You will notice that the wizard has a tabbed orientation to it. By using the mouse and mousing over the text down the left hand side you will see that they are hyperlink like.
  • You can examine the different pages for what the default values are set to.
  • When you are ready, Click the "Finish" button to generate the Projects and their template code.

 
Figure 3: TipOfTheDay Solution Explorer view after wizard has generated code

  • In the solution explorer you will see 3 tree nodes under the solution node. One is the ATL Server Project, the second is the ISAPI extension Project associated with the ATL Server Project, and the third is the deployment wizard to deploy your ATL Server and its ISAPI extension on the target machine.
  • Expand the "TipOfTheDay" Project tree node under the TipOfTheDay Solution root node.
  • Then expand the "Header Files" and "Source Files" tree nodes under the project. You will see that there are 2 source files and 2 header files associated with the ATL Server Project. These files will be where you will implement your compiled logic and tag handlers.
  • Also notice that under the same project there is a "TipOfTheDay.srf" file. If you double click this tree item you will see the contents of the SRF file in your main document area. This is the template that the wizard generated for you when it created your project.

Initial Build And Deploy

Now is a good time to do your initial build and deployment of your solution.

  • Right click on the TipOfTheDay solution node in the Solution Explorer and Deploy Solution from the context menu. This will make sure all your solution projects are up-to-date and build an MSI in which it will deploy your components to your webserver. And also which you can reuse to deploy the solution onto another site or server.
  • If you think that the system has hung during the deployment process (it's on the same task and the progress isn't changing in the past couple minutes) you can try cancelling and redeploying the solution.
  • If you get an error while deploying the solution, Rebuild the entire solution and deploy it again.
  • The previous two comments may happen later on during subsequent builds but now was a good time to mention them.

Visit The Deployment

Now that the solution is built and deployed take a look at what the wizard has generated for you and what it produced after parsing and processing the application. [http://localhost/TipOfTheDay] The site should produce what is in Figure 4.


 
Figure 4: TipOfTheDay Deployed Site Visit

Remove The Wizard Defaults

What the wizard produced for us is just a basic sample and pretty useless. Since our application will not be making use of the implemented Hello Handler, we will remove all references to it.

  • Open the TipOfTheDay.h header file in the TipOfTheDay project from the solution explorer.
  • Remove from the TipOfTheDay.h header file the following lines
// Here is an example of how to use a replacement tag with the stencil 
// processor
[ tag_name(name="Hello") ]
HTTP_CODE OnHello(void)
{
    m_HttpResponse << "Hello World!";
    return HTTP_SUCCESS;
}
  • Now Open the TipOfTheDay.srf file and remove the line with the hello token handler on it.
This is a test: {{Hello}}<br>
  • Save your Solution. It's a good idea since the IDE is still Beta, save yourself from any lost work.
  • If you built the solution and deployed it at this time, the application would still work correctly it just wouldn't do anything. Less now than before.

Implement Tag Handlers

We are going to need to implement a handful of ATL Server tag handlers. We will need a DisplayVersion which gives the applications title and version in 1 string. The DisplayVersion tag will be used in the content file's page title and header content. We will also need a few tag handlers to load a random tip, RandomTip. We will need tag handlers to get the details of the random tip; the tag names are TipCategoryMajor, TipCategoryMinor, TipSource, TipOfTheDay. We will also need to declare some member variables, a private method, and do some initialization. In addition we will need some additional header files.

Required Header Files

  • Open stdafx.h from the TipOfTheDay Project. Under the TODO line add include statements for comdef.h and msxml.h. Then Save.
// TODO: reference additional headers your program requires here
#include <span class="code-keyword"><comdef.h>           // need this for _bstr_t and _com_ptr_t
</span>
#include <span class="code-keyword"><msxml.h>            // need this for our tips XML file to parse it.</span>

Member Variables

  • Open TipOfTheDay.h from the TipOfTheDay Project. Under the protected section comment add the following member variables. Then Save.
// Put protected members here
_bstr_t m_bsCategoryMajor;  // category major: company, product, heading
_bstr_t m_bsCategoryMinor;  // category minor: division, technology, {optional}
_bstr_t m_bsTipOfTheDay;    // Tip Of The Day: Text but could be substituted 
                            // with quote of the day
_bstr_t m_bsSource;         // Source: Who added the tip or came up with the 
                            // quote

bool m_bInited;

Private Methods

  • We need one private method to make sure that the user has called RandomTip before accessing any of the Tip* tag handlers. Add the IsInited method to the protected section of the TipOfTheDay.h file as seen below.
inline bool IsInited(bool bShowInstructions = false)
{
    if (!m_bInited && bShowInstructions)
    {
        m_HttpResponse << "Call RandomTip before accessing any Tip* Methods";
    }
    return m_bInited;
}

Initialization In ValidateAndExchange

  • In the same header file add the following code to the ValidateAndExchange method under the TODO comment like seen below. Then Save.
HTTP_CODE ValidateAndExchange()
{
    // TODO: Put all initialization and validation code here
    m_bInited = false;
    m_bsCategoryMajor = "";
    m_bsCategoryMinor = "";
    m_bsTipOfTheDay = "";
    m_bsSource = "Unknown";

    // Set the content-type
    m_HttpResponse.SetContentType("text/html");

    return HTTP_SUCCESS;
}

DisplayVersion

The DisplayVersion tag handler writes the application name and version to the requesting response objects output stream. Insert the following code into the header and source files for TipOfTheDay as shown.

Insert into TipOfTheDay.h
[ tag_name(name="DisplayVersion") ]
HTTP_CODE OnDisplayVersion(void);

Insert into TipOfTheDay.cpp

HTTP_CODE CTipOfTheDayHandler::OnDisplayVersion(void)
{
    m_HttpResponse << "Tip Of The Day ATL Server 1.0";
    return HTTP_SUCCESS;
}

RandomTip

The RandomTip Handler is used to load the tips XML file and randomly get a tip to display to the requestor through the response object. For now we will put in the stubs and later insert and examine the implementation of this method

Insert into TipOfTheDay.h
[ tag_name(name="RandomTip") ]
HTTP_CODE OnRandomTip(void);

Insert into TipOfTheDay.cpp

HTTP_CODE CTipOfTheDayHandler::OnRandomTip(void)
{
    m_bInited = true;
    return HTTP_SUCCESS;
}

TipCategoryMajor

The TipCategoryMajor handler writes to the response object stream of the request the Major Category for which the Tip belongs. In the tips XML file the content of this field is optional.

Insert into TipOfTheDay.h
[ tag_name(name="TipCategoryMajor") ]
HTTP_CODE OnTipCategoryMajor(void);

Insert into TipOfTheDay.cpp

HTTP_CODE CTipOfTheDayHandler::OnTipCategoryMajor(void)
{
    if (IsInited())
    {
        m_HttpResponse << static_cast<TCHAR*>(m_bsCategoryMajor);
    }
    return HTTP_SUCCESS;
}

TipCategoryMinor

The TipCategoryMinor handler writes to the response object stream of the request the Minor Category for which the Tip belongs. In the tips XML file the content of this field is optional.

Insert into TipOfTheDay.h
[ tag_name(name="TipCategoryMinor") ]
HTTP_CODE OnTipCategoryMinor(void);

Insert into TipOfTheDay.cpp

HTTP_CODE CTipOfTheDayHandler::OnTipCategoryMinor(void)
{
    if (IsInited())
    {
        m_HttpResponse << static_cast<TCHAR*>(m_bsCategoryMinor);
    }
    return HTTP_SUCCESS;
}

TipOfTheDay

The TipOfTheDay handler writes to the response object stream of the request the TipOfTheDay text that was specified for the tip in the XML file. This field is required in the XML file otherwise you wouldn't have any tip to display. Notice that the name of the tag does not have to match the handling function. You may have also noticed that the call to IsInited is passing an arguement of true this is so that if the RandomTip method has not been called we can display an output string in the stream letting the developer/tester of a content file know that it should be called.

Insert into TipOfTheDay.h
[ tag_name(name="TipOfTheDay") ]
HTTP_CODE OnTipInfo(void);

Insert into TipOfTheDay.cpp

HTTP_CODE CTipOfTheDayHandler::OnTipInfo(void)
{
    if (IsInited(true))
    {
        m_HttpResponse << static_cast<TCHAR*>(m_bsTipOfTheDay);
    }
    return HTTP_SUCCESS;
}

TipSource

The TipSource handler replaces the TipSource Tag in the parsed file with the source of the tip, if the source is not specified in the XML file then an empty string will be written to the response stream and none will be displayed.

Insert into TipOfTheDay.h
[ tag_name(name="TipSource") ]
HTTP_CODE OnTipSource(void);

Insert into TipOfTheDay.cpp

HTTP_CODE CTipOfTheDayHandler::OnTipSource(void)
{
    if (IsInited())
    {
        m_HttpResponse << static_cast<TCHAR*>(m_bsSource);
    }
    return HTTP_SUCCESS;
}

Update TipOfTheDay.SRF

Before we continue, Save all your work. Now that we have implemented most of hour tag handlers we need to update the TipOfTheDay.SRF file to call them and display their results into the page. Below is what your updated TipOfTheDay.SRF file should look like the new handler usage and html are in bold. In the TipOfTheDay.SRF file we have put the DisplayVersion tag into between the TITLE tags. We don't call RandomTip since we have yet to implement the handler completely and this way see what is generated if RandomTip is not called before using any of the other Tip* tags. We then made a table to house our Tip Of The Day information by displaying the CategoryMajor value in the upper left, the CategoryMinor value in the upper right, the Tip text in the middle, and the source underneath the Tip text.

Insert bold code sections into TipOfTheDay.srf
<html>
{{handler TipOfTheDay.dll/Default}}
<head>
    {{// Set the title of the page with the component's title string}}
    <title>{{DisplayVersion}}</title>
</head>
<body>
    <table align="center" cellspacing="0" cellpadding="4" width="80%">
        <tr>
            {{// Display the random tip product and technology associations}}
            <td class="ProductTechnology" nowrap="true">{{TipCategoryMajor}}</td>
            <td> </td>
            <td class="ProductTechnology" nowrap="true" 
                align="right">{{TipCategoryMinor}}</td>
        </tr>
        <tr>
            {{// Display the Tip of the day text information}}
            <td COLSPAN="3" class="TipInfo">{{TipOfTheDay}}</td>
        </tr>
        <tr>
            {{// Display the Source if any}}
            <td COLSPAN="3" class="Source" nowrap="true" 
                align="right">{{TipSource}}</td>
        </tr>
    </table>
</body>
</html>

Build And Deploy (Second Time)

Repeat the steps and instructions under the section headings "Initial Build And Deploy" and "Visit The Deployment". You should see something similar to Figure 5. It's still boring but we will fix that shortly.


 
Figure 5: TipOfTheDay, basic handlers implemented

Look And Feel

We have this application and it's in a table but we can't tell that just yet. As you can see from the code that we just implemented that we are using the class attribute. We should have a stylesheet which will give the generated page a look and feel. We will add a stylesheet to the TipOfTheDay.SRF file and implement the stylsheet source.

  • In the Solution Explorer right click the TipOfTheDay project and from the context menu select Add | Add New Item....
  • From the Add New Item dialog, select the Visual C++ Category on the left hand side and then select the "Style Sheet" from the Templates listview.
  • In the name field type "TipOfTheDay" and click open. A file will be added to your project called "TipOfTheDay.css"
  • In the Solution Explorer click on the "TipOfTheDay.css" tree node. Then look at the properties window and set the Content attribute to True, see Figure 6. By setting the Content attribute to true this will inform the project that this file needs to be added to the deployment package when built.

     
    Figure 6: TipOfTheDay.CSS Properties, Content=True

  • Double click the "TipOfTheDay.css" tree node to open the file and insert the stylesheet information below into that file and save everything.
Stylesheet definitions inserted into TipOfTheDay.CSS
TABLE
{
    border:solid 1px black;
}

TD
{
    background-color:506C86;
    color:FFFFFF;
}
TD.ProductTechnology
{
    font-weight:bold;
}

TD.TipInfo
{
    background-color:infobackground;
    text-align:center;
    color:000000;
}

TD.Source
{
    background-color:506C86;
    font-size:xx-small;
}

TD.PageHeader
{
    font-size:x-large;
    text-align:center;
}

A
{
    color:FFFFFF;
}

Next we will need to update the TipOfTheDay.SRF file to use the new stylesheet. Insert the text in bold into the TipOfTheDay.SRF file. And Save.

Stylesheet added to TipOfTheDay.SRF
<html>
{{handler TipOfTheDay.dll/Default}}
<head>
    <link rel="stylesheet" type="text/css" href="TipOfTheDay.css">
    {{// Set the title of the page with the component's title string}}
    <title>{{DisplayVersion}}</title>
</head>
<body>
    <table align="center" cellspacing="0" cellpadding="4" width="80%">
        <tr>
            {{// Display the random tip product and technology associations}}
            <td class="ProductTechnology" nowrap="true">{{TipCategoryMajor}}</td>
            <td> </td>
            <td class="ProductTechnology" nowrap="true" 
                align="right">{{TipCategoryMinor}}</td>
        </tr>
        <tr>
            {{// Display the Tip of the day text information}}
            <td COLSPAN="3" class="TipInfo">{{TipOfTheDay}}</td>
        </tr>
        <tr>
            {{// Display the Source if any}}
            <td COLSPAN="3" class="Source" nowrap="true" 
                align="right">{{TipSource}}</td>
        </tr>
    </table>
</body>
</html>

Build And Deploy (Third Time)

Repeat the steps and instructions under the section headings "Initial Build And Deploy" and "Visit The Deployment". You should see something similar to Figure 7. Now it has a nicer look and feel.


 
Figure 7: TipOfTheDay, Look And Feel

Implement Random Tip Of The Day

Now that we have our tag replacement handlers implemented, a SRF file with a decent UI, and a UI witha look and feel; let's go back to your TipOfTheDay.cpp file and insert the implementation of RandomTip to load a tip from the Tips XML file and cache the values for the tip selected.

  • First, let us add another file to our project. This time an XML file to put our tips into. We are going to repeat the same exact steps we did for our CSS file but instead select and name a XML file. The steps are repeated for your convience.
  • In the Solution Explorer right click the TipOfTheDay project and from the context menu select Add | Add New Item....
  • From the Add New Item dialog, select the Visual C++ Category on the left hand side and then select the "XML File" from the Templates listview.
  • In the name field type "TipOfTheDay" and click open. A file will be added to your project called "TipOfTheDay.xml"
  • In the Solution Explorer click on the "TipOfTheDay.xml" tree node. Then look at the properties window and set the Content attribute to True, see Figure 6 as a refernce. By setting the Content attribute to true this will inform the project that this file needs to be added to the deployment package when built.
  • Now that we have our Tips XML file double click the "TipOfTheDay.xml" tree node and insert tips of your choice using the following schema
TipOfTheDay.xml file schema where Tip and its children should be repeated for each new tip.
<?xml version="1.0"?>
<Tips>
    <Tip>
        <CategoryMajor>ATL Server</CategoryMajor>
        <CategoryMinor>SRF Tags</CategoryMinor>
        <TipText>When commenting your files being used by your ATL Server, 
            don't put tags in comments unless you mean to, as they will be 
            processed by the associated ATL Server handler</TipText>
        <Source>Erik Thompson</Source>
    </Tip>
</Tips>

Now that we have an XML file with our Tip(s) let us implement the core of the RandomTip tag handler.

  • First save your projcet. Then, double click "TipOfTheDay.cpp" to begin editing.
  • Add the following lines of code to the source file below the stdafx.h include directive as shown below. The new include for time allows us to see the srand function so that our selected tip is as random as possible. The smart pointer declarations allow us to use the XMLDOM interfaces with ease.
#include <span class="code-keyword"><stdafx.h>
</span>
#include <span class="code-keyword"><time.h>        // need this to see the random function to get a random tip
</span>

// Smart pointers that we will use when building the current random tip.
_COM_SMARTPTR_TYPEDEF(IXMLDOMDocument,  __uuidof(IXMLDOMDocument));
_COM_SMARTPTR_TYPEDEF(IXMLDOMElement,   __uuidof(IXMLDOMElement));
_COM_SMARTPTR_TYPEDEF(IXMLDOMNodeList,  __uuidof(IXMLDOMNodeList));
_COM_SMARTPTR_TYPEDEF(IXMLDOMNode,      __uuidof(IXMLDOMNode));
  • Now scroll down to the RandomTip method implementation and we will insert the code neccessary to load a tip and store it's associated values.
  • Right now our RandomTip implementation does nothing but set our initialzing flag to true, lets add the code to open our TipOfTheDay.xml file
  • The first thing we need to do is create a XMLDOMDocument object using CreateInstance. Once we have an object we can move onto the next setp and attempt to load the XML file.
  • Add the code below in bold to the OnRandomTip method
HTTP_CODE CTipOfTheDayHandler::OnRandomTip(void)
{
    HRESULT hr = S_OK;
    IXMLDOMDocumentPtr ptrTipsFile = NULL;
    hr = ptrTipsFile.CreateInstance(CLSID_DOMDocument);
    if (SUCCEEDED(hr) && ptrTipsFile != NULL)
    {
        // More implemetation to come.
        ptrTipsFile=NULL;
    }
    m_bInited = true;
    return HTTP_SUCCESS;
}
  • After we have a XML object we build the physical path to the TipOfTheDay.xml file using the new ATL CString class and the m_HttpRequest object.
  • We then try to load the list of XML Tips into the XML object. If we succeed we will move forward and try to get a random tip and it's contents.
  • Add the code below in bold to the OnRandomTip method
HTTP_CODE CTipOfTheDayHandler::OnRandomTip(void)
{
    HRESULT hr = S_OK;
    IXMLDOMDocumentPtr ptrTipsFile = NULL;
    hr = ptrTipsFile.CreateInstance(CLSID_DOMDocument);
    if (SUCCEEDED(hr) && ptrTipsFile != NULL)
    {
        // build path to tip of the day xml file
        CString strPath;
        m_HttpRequest.GetPhysicalPath(strPath);
        strPath.Append("TipOfTheDay.xml");

        // load document
        VARIANT_BOOL vbLoaded = VARIANT_FALSE;
        ptrTipsFile->put_async(VARIANT_FALSE);
        hr = ptrTipsFile->load(_variant_t(strPath), &vbLoaded);
        if (SUCCEEDED(hr) && vbLoaded == VARIANT_TRUE)
        {
            IXMLDOMElementPtr ptrDocRoot = NULL;
            hr = ptrTipsFile->get_documentElement(&ptrDocRoot);
            if (SUCCEEDED(hr) && ptrDocRoot != NULL)
            {
                // More implemetation to come.
                ptrDocRoot = NULL;
            }
        }
        ptrTipsFile=NULL;
    }
    m_bInited = true;
    return HTTP_SUCCESS;
}
  • Next we need to get all the children of the root node from the XML document, this will be the avilable tips.
  • From the list of available tips we will get the number of tips and select a random tip from the available tips using the rand() method
  • Once we have the tip we can finally get the attribute values of the tip for your associated Tip* Handlers.
  • Add the code below in bold to the OnRandomTip method
HTTP_CODE CTipOfTheDayHandler::OnRandomTip(void)
{
    HRESULT hr = S_OK;
    IXMLDOMDocumentPtr ptrTipsFile = NULL;
    hr = ptrTipsFile.CreateInstance(CLSID_DOMDocument);
    if (SUCCEEDED(hr) && ptrTipsFile != NULL)
    {
        // build path to tip of the day xml file
        CString strPath;
        m_HttpRequest.GetPhysicalPath(strPath);
        strPath.Append("TipOfTheDay.xml");

        // load document
        VARIANT_BOOL vbLoaded = VARIANT_FALSE;
        ptrTipsFile->put_async(VARIANT_FALSE);
        hr = ptrTipsFile->load(_variant_t(strPath), &vbLoaded);
        if (SUCCEEDED(hr) && vbLoaded == VARIANT_TRUE)
        {
            IXMLDOMElementPtr ptrDocRoot = NULL;
            hr = ptrTipsFile->get_documentElement(&ptrDocRoot);
            if (SUCCEEDED(hr) && ptrDocRoot != NULL)
            {
                IXMLDOMNodeListPtr ptrTipsList = NULL;
                hr = ptrDocRoot->get_childNodes(&ptrTipsList);
                if (SUCCEEDED(hr) && ptrTipsList != NULL)
                {
                    long lTipCount = 0;
                    hr = ptrTipsList->get_length(&lTipCount);
                    if (SUCCEEDED(hr) && lTipCount)
                    {
                        IXMLDOMNodePtr ptrTip = NULL;
                        // randomize and load tip of the day
                        // seed random number generator
                        srand( (unsigned)time( NULL ) );
                        hr = ptrTipsList->get_item(rand() % lTipCount, &ptrTip);
                        if (SUCCEEDED(hr) && ptrTip != NULL)
                        {
                            // More implemetation to come.
                            ptrTip = NULL;
                        }
                    }
                    ptrTipsList = NULL;
                }
                ptrDocRoot = NULL;
            }
        }
        ptrTipsFile=NULL;
    }
    m_bInited = true;
    return HTTP_SUCCESS;
}
  • Finally we select the node we are working with for the current attribute from the Tip node.
  • We then get the attribute's contained value and store it into the associated member variable which a tag handler will later use to write the value to the page requestor.
  • Add the code below in bold to the OnRandomTip method
HTTP_CODE CTipOfTheDayHandler::OnRandomTip(void)
{
    HRESULT hr = S_OK;
    IXMLDOMDocumentPtr ptrTipsFile = NULL;
    hr = ptrTipsFile.CreateInstance(CLSID_DOMDocument);
    if (SUCCEEDED(hr) && ptrTipsFile != NULL)
    {
        // build path to tip of the day xml file
        CString strPath;
        m_HttpRequest.GetPhysicalPath(strPath);
        strPath.Append("TipOfTheDay.xml");

        // load document
        VARIANT_BOOL vbLoaded = VARIANT_FALSE;
        ptrTipsFile->put_async(VARIANT_FALSE);
        hr = ptrTipsFile->load(_variant_t(strPath), &vbLoaded);
        if (SUCCEEDED(hr) && vbLoaded == VARIANT_TRUE)
        {
            IXMLDOMElementPtr ptrDocRoot = NULL;
            hr = ptrTipsFile->get_documentElement(&ptrDocRoot);
            if (SUCCEEDED(hr) && ptrDocRoot != NULL)
            {
                IXMLDOMNodeListPtr ptrTipsList = NULL;
                hr = ptrDocRoot->get_childNodes(&ptrTipsList);
                if (SUCCEEDED(hr) && ptrTipsList != NULL)
                {
                    long lTipCount = 0;
                    hr = ptrTipsList->get_length(&lTipCount);
                    if (SUCCEEDED(hr) && lTipCount)
                    {
                        IXMLDOMNodePtr ptrTip = NULL;
                        // randomize and load tip of the day
                        // seed random number generator
                        srand( (unsigned)time( NULL ) );
                        hr = ptrTipsList->get_item(rand() % lTipCount, &ptrTip);
                        if (SUCCEEDED(hr) && ptrTip != NULL)
                        {
                            IXMLDOMNodePtr ptrField = NULL;
                            _bstr_t bsField;
                            BSTR bstrText = NULL;

                            bsField = "CategoryMajor";
                            hr = ptrTip->selectSingleNode(bsField, &ptrField);
                            if (SUCCEEDED(hr) && ptrField != NULL)
                            {
                                ptrField->get_text(&bstrText);
                                m_bsCategoryMajor = bstrText;
                                SysFreeString(bstrText), bstrText = NULL;
                                ptrField = NULL;
                            }

                            bsField = "CategoryMinor";
                            hr = ptrTip->selectSingleNode(bsField, &ptrField);
                            if (SUCCEEDED(hr) && ptrField != NULL)
                            {
                                ptrField->get_text(&bstrText);
                                m_bsCategoryMinor = bstrText;
                                SysFreeString(bstrText), bstrText = NULL;
                                ptrField = NULL;
                            }

                            bsField = "TipText";
                            hr = ptrTip->selectSingleNode(bsField, &ptrField);
                            if (SUCCEEDED(hr) && ptrField != NULL)
                            {
                                ptrField->get_text(&bstrText);
                                m_bsTipOfTheDay = bstrText;
                                SysFreeString(bstrText), bstrText = NULL;
                                ptrField = NULL;
                            }

                            bsField = "Source";
                            hr = ptrTip->selectSingleNode(bsField, &ptrField);
                            if (SUCCEEDED(hr) && ptrField != NULL)
                            {
                                ptrField->get_text(&bstrText);
                                m_bsSource = bstrText;
                                SysFreeString(bstrText), bstrText = NULL;
                                ptrField = NULL;
                            }
                            ptrTip = NULL;
                        }
                    }
                    ptrTipsList = NULL;
                }
                ptrDocRoot = NULL;
            }
        }
        ptrTipsFile=NULL;
    }
    m_bInited = true;
    return HTTP_SUCCESS;
}

The final thing we need to do before we build and deploy is add the {{RandomTip}} tag to the TipOfTheDay.srf file.

Add the lines in bold to TipOfTheDay.srf
<html>
{{handler TipOfTheDay.dll/Default}}
<head>
    <link rel="stylesheet" type="text/css" href="TipOfTheDay.css">
    {{// Set the title of the page with the component's title string}}
    <title>{{DisplayVersion}}</title>
</head>
<body>
    {{// See the TipOfTheDay}}
    {{RandomTip}}
    <table align="center" cellspacing="0" cellpadding="4" width="80%">
        <tr>
            {{// Display the random tip product and technology associations}}
            <td class="ProductTechnology" 
                nowrap="true">{{TipCategoryMajor}}</td>
            <td> </td>
            <td class="ProductTechnology" nowrap="true" 
                align="right">{{TipCategoryMinor}}</td>
        </tr>
        <tr>
            {{// Display the Tip of the day text information}}
            <td COLSPAN="3" class="TipInfo">{{TipOfTheDay}}</td>
        </tr>
        <tr>
            {{// Display the Source if any}}
            <td COLSPAN="3" class="Source" nowrap="true"
                align="right">{{TipSource}}</td>
        </tr>
    </table>
</body>
</html>

Build And Deploy (Fourth Time)

Repeat the steps and instructions under the section headings "Initial Build And Deploy" and "Visit The Deployment". You should see something similar to Figure 8.


 
Figure 8: TipOfTheDay, RandomTip Implemented.

Introduce Additional SRF Tags

Server Response Files allow you to do includes of other html files, text files, and SRF files to build up a page. When another SRF file is called, the file is parsed and tokens found are processed. The resulting processed SRF file contents are injected back into the SRF file which included it replacing in place of the include tag. We will add a header and a footer to our SRF file. The header will be another SRF file which will add a table bar with the display version in a large font. The footer will display another table displaying the build which the project is for and how to contact me.

Adding A Header

To add the header to the SRF file we first need to create the file and add it to our project. We are going to follow the same steps as we did for the TipOfTheDay.css and TipOfTheDay.xml files. The steps are repeated for your convience.

  • In the Solution Explorer right click the TipOfTheDay project and from the context menu select Add | Add New Item....
  • From the Add New Item dialog, select the Visual C++ Category on the left hand side and then select the "SRF File (.srf)" from the Templates listview.
  • In the name field type "Header" and click open. A file will be added to your project called "Header.srf"
  • In the Solution Explorer click on the "Header.srf" tree node. Then look at the properties window and set the Content attribute to True, see Figure 6 as a refernce. By setting the Content attribute to true this will inform the project that this file needs to be added to the deployment package when built.
  • Now that we have our Header file double click the "Header.srf" tree node and insert the code below into it.
Implementation of Header.srf
{{handler TipOfTheDay.dll/Default}}
<table width="100%" align="center">
    <tr>
        <td class="PageHeader">{{DisplayVersion}}</td>
    </tr>
</table>
<BR>
<BR>
<BR>

Add A Footer

To add the footer to the SRF file we first need to create the file and add it to our project. We are going to follow the same steps as we have for the past 3 times.

  • In the Solution Explorer right click the TipOfTheDay project and from the context menu select Add | Add New Item....
  • From the Add New Item dialog, select the Visual C++ Category on the left hand side and then select the "HTML Page" from the Templates listview.
  • In the name field type "Footer" and click open. A file will be added to your project called "Footer.htm"
  • In the Solution Explorer click on the "Footer.htm" tree node. Then look at the properties window and set the Content attribute to True, see Figure 6 as a refernce. By setting the Content attribute to true this will inform the project that this file needs to be added to the deployment package when built.
  • Now that we have our Footer file double click the "Footer.htm" tree node and insert the footer code below into it.
Implementation of Footer.htm
<br>
<br>
<br>
<table width="100%" align="center">
    <tr>
        <td align="left" width="50%">VisualStudio.NET Beta1, ATL Server 
        Example</td>
        <td align="right">Created By: 
        <a href="mailto:erikt@radbytes.com">Erik Thompson</a></td>
    </tr>
</table>

Update TipOfTheDay.SRF

Now that we have these new content files we need to add code to the TipOfTheDay.srf file to have the ATLServer process and interject responses into the processed result.

Add the code in bold below to TipOfTheDay.srf
<html>
{{handler TipOfTheDay.dll/Default}}
<head>
    <link rel="stylesheet" type="text/css" href="TipOfTheDay.css">
    {{// Set the title of the page with the component's title string}}
    <title>{{DisplayVersion}}</title>
</head>
<body>
    <!--<span class="code-comment"> Header section--></span>
    {{include Header.srf}}

    <!--<span class="code-comment"> Tip Of The Day section--></span>
    {{// See the TipOfTheDay}}
    {{RandomTip}}
    <table align="center" cellspacing="0" cellpadding="4" width="80%">
        <tr>
            {{// Display the random tip product and technology associations}}
            <td class="ProductTechnology" 
                nowrap="true">{{TipCategoryMajor}}</td>
            <td> </td>
            <td class="ProductTechnology" nowrap="true" 
                align="right">{{TipCategoryMinor}}</td>
        </tr>
        <tr>
            {{// Display the Tip of the day text information}}
            <td COLSPAN="3" class="TipInfo">{{TipOfTheDay}}</td>
        </tr>
        <tr>
            {{// Display the Source if any}}
            <td COLSPAN="3" class="Source" nowrap="true" 
               align="right">{{TipSource}}</td>
        </tr>
    </table>
    <!--<span class="code-comment"> Footer section--></span>
    {{include Footer.htm}}

</body>
</html>

Build And Deploy (Fifth Time)

Let's build and deploy the project for the last time. Repeat the steps and instructions under the section headings "Initial Build And Deploy" and "Visit The Deployment". You should see something similar to Figure 9.


 
Figure 9: TipOfTheDay, Final Look

Conclusion

ATL Servers are the next step for ISAPI. It brings to ISAPI what it didn't in the past. In the past ISAPI extensions housed the logic, content, and UI. Now ATL Servers povide the best of both worlds. They house only the logic and allow the some of the content and UI to be outside the DLL and updateable. It's also a compiled solution that will give system not running .NET an avenue for better performance in web applications compared to using ASP. Microsoft has done well by making ISAPI development easier through the housing of the Response, Request interfaces that ASP and ASP Component developers are accustomed to but also provide rich abilities to external services through a compiled object.

License

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About the Author

Erik Thompson
Web Developer
United States United States
Erik lives in Redmond, Washington. He works as a Senior Software Engineer specializing in C++, COM, ATL and the middle-tier and now .NET. When he isn't coding for work, he can be found trying to extend Internet Explorer with yet another Desk band or simplifying his development process with ATL Object Wizards.
 
He spends his free time snowboarding, mountain biking, and online gaming.

Comments and Discussions

 
GeneralCan't build!!! :( Pinmemberc_srishti27-Mar-08 10:11 
QuestionCan ATL/COM post data to a remote server ? PinmemberAndyzyx7-Feb-07 5:07 
AnswerRe: Can ATL/COM post data to a remote server ? PinsitebuilderErik Thompson7-Feb-07 6:28 
QuestionPictures ? PinmemberAdrian Bacaianu8-Jun-03 2:26 
AnswerRe: Pictures ? PinsitebuilderErik Thompson9-Jun-03 8:05 
AnswerRe: Pictures ? PinadminChris Maunder9-Jun-03 10:55 
GeneralI can't download demo project ! Pinmemberpower_jpp6-Jun-03 17:35 
GeneralRe: I can't download demo project ! Pinmembermoonese6-Jun-03 20:01 
GeneralRe: I can't download demo project ! PinsitebuilderErik Thompson9-Jun-03 8:06 
GeneralRe: I can't download demo project ! PinadminChris Maunder9-Jun-03 10:54 
GeneralGreat article PinmemberTerry Denham20-Feb-03 9:19 
GeneralATL Server & ADO PinsussAndrew Matthews12-Sep-02 6:51 
GeneralBroken link in article, should be: PinmemberSoliant25-Jun-02 10:07 
QuestionATL7 Server books? PinmemberSoliant25-Jun-02 8:23 
AnswerRe: ATL7 Server books? PinsitebuilderErik Thompson8-Aug-02 13:00 
QuestionCan ATLServers be used with ASP? PinmemberRanjan Banerji10-May-02 6:07 
AnswerRe: Can ATLServers be used with ASP? PinsitebuilderErik Thompson8-Aug-02 13:07 
GeneralProblems with deployment PinmemberAnonymous30-Aug-01 15:15 
GeneralRe: Problems with deployment PinmemberAnonymous14-Sep-01 9:36 
GeneralOh, it's so complicated and boring! PinmemberAnonymous26-Jul-01 11:07 
GeneralRe: Oh, it's so complicated and boring! PinmemberCarlos Antollini26-Jul-01 11:32 
GeneralRe: Oh, it's so complicated and boring! PinsitebuilderErik Thompson8-Aug-02 13:03 

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