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Calling scripts within scripts

, 29 Jan 2000 CPOL
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A Component for calling a URL from an ASP script and reading back the output
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  • Overview

    When writing an ASP script, it is sometimes useful to temporarily transfer execution to another script, and then continue the original script with the result of the called script.

    This is what the AspRetrieve component does. You can think of it like calling a procedure.

    The AspRetrieve component acts similar to the new function Server.Execute in IIS 5.0. In addition, you can pass parameters, either by GET or by POST.

    The functionality of the AspRetrieve component in brief:

    • call any URL from within an ASP script
    • pass parameters to the URL either in the URL itself (i.e. by GET) or by POST
    • retrieve the results form the called URL as a string

    Because I only needed limited functionality, only textual results are correctly returned from the called URL. i.e. you can call a HTML page, or an ASP script, but you cannot call a GIF or JPEG image, since the latter two return binary data.

    If you would like to extend the functionality, I would love to have this new version.


    The AspRetrieve component consists of two parts:

    • A MFC/ATL component that uses the Wininet functions to call an URL
    • Some ASP functions that aid in accessing the MFC component

    In addition I included some examples


    • Compile the MFC/ATL part of the component, using Visual C++ (I used the german version of Visual C++ 6, SP3)
    • Copy the component to whatever directory you want it, ensuring the account under which IIS runs (IUSR_XXX) has the correct permissions to access the component
    • Register the compiled component using regsvr32 (which is in your windows' system directory). Just type regsvr32 aspretrieve.dll at the command prompt
    • Copy the ASP function file to whatever directory you want
    • Include in your projects and begin using it


    When everything is installed correctly, just include the file in your ASP scripts and call the two functions Retrieve(url) and RetrievePost(url,params). You can either use relative URLs or absolute URLs for calling.

    A practical use of the component is at those places, where you would need a lot of Response.Write statements to produce HTML output. Those functions can now be separated into extra ASP files, feeded with parameters and called via the AspRetrieve component.


    Imagine you have a function that creates a table by code. 

    Without the AspRetrieve component, you would write something like this to implement the function:

    sub makeTable( byval cols, byval rows )
    	dim c,r
    	Response.Write "<table border=""0"" width=""100%"">"
    	' create rows.
    	for r=1 to rows
    		Response.Write "<tr>"
    		' create cols.
    		for c=1 to cols
    			Response.Write "<td width=""100%""></td>"
    		Response.Write "</tr>"
    	Response.Write "</table>"
    end sub

    You call the function like this:

    <% makeTable 10, 20 %>

    When using the AspRetrieve, you implement the function in a separate ASP script like this:

    <table border="1" width="100%">
    	' create rows.
    	dim c,r
    	for r=1 to Request("rows")
    			' create cols.
    			for c=1 to Request("cols")
    				<td width="100%"></td>

    You could then write a wrapper to simplify calling:

    sub makeTable( byval cols, byval rows )
    	Response.Write Retrieve( "maketable.asp?cols="&cols&"&rows="&rows )
    end sub

    And finally you would call the wrapper in your code

    <% makeTable 10, 20 %>


    The advantages of using AspRetrieve are that you can divide a complex application into individual modules. You can create a library of ASP scripts that you can call as needed. 

    In addition by cutting down the number of times you need to use Response.Write, you simplify your code. Having code in separate files, you can even use a graphical layout tool to modify your files, which is impossible if you construct your page with Response.Write.

    Another benefit is that you no longer need to include all files "at compile-time" using the <!--#include--> directive, but can "include" these files dynamically at runtime using the Retrieve function! (a feature that e.g. JSP has by default).

    Please feel free to ask any questions you have by e-mail:


    This article, along with any associated source code and files, is licensed under The Code Project Open License (CPOL)


    About the Author

    Uwe Keim
    Chief Technology Officer Zeta Producer Desktop CMS
    Germany Germany
    Uwe does programming since 1989 with experiences in Assembler, C++, MFC and lots of web- and database stuff and now uses ASP.NET and C# extensively, too. He has also teached programming to students at the local university.

    In his free time, he does climbing, running and mountain biking. Recently he became a father of a cute boy.

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    Comments and Discussions

    General"Print & Go" script with Uwe's help Pin
    Juliansongs7-May-04 0:34
    memberJuliansongs7-May-04 0:34 
    Hi friends!

    Thanx to Uwe Keim I created a nice little ASP 3.0 script that loops thru a certain web directory, finds all [.htm*] files, reads them out, puts them in a new HTML file within the same directory and opens the browser's print dialog box. After printing it automatically closes the window.

    It benefits Online Magazine articles etc. that reside in several DIFFERENT html files. With this script you can print them all out with one click. I call the function "Print & Go"

          <title>Online Magazine "Print & Go" Edition</title>

             <!-- PRINT LAYOUT FORMATTING FOR IE4+ -->
             <style language="StyleSheet" type="text/css">
             //forces a page break after every article using <h3></h3> as the trigger
             h3 { page-break-before:always }
             //forces at least 3 textlines to remain attached to an orphaned line after a page break
             p   { widows:3 }


       <!-- Opens the print dialog box and closes this window (IE4+) after print or cancel -->
       <!-- In Netscape window.close() does not work if called right after window.print() -->
       <body onLoad="window.print(); window.close()">

    <% 'locates this file and puts the path into the pathInfo variable
       pathInfo   = Server.MapPath(Request.ServerVariables("SCRIPT_NAME"))

       'locates the last backslash in the pathInfo variable
       slashPos   = InStrRev(pathInfo, "\")

       'truncates the variable pathInfo and puts the remaining directory path into the variable folderStr
       folderStr = Left(pathInfo, slashPos - 1)

       'creates 3 of the four object variables
       Set FSO = CreateObject("Scripting.FileSystemObject")
       Set FOL = FSO.GetFolder(folderStr)
       Set FIL = FOL.Files

       'iterates thru the FIL Object to find all files within the variable folderStr
       For Each file In FIL

             'creates the 4th object variable to open all found files
             Set TXT = FSO.OpenTextFile(folderStr & "\" & file.Name, 1)

             'excludes all non htm(l) files
             If Right(file.Name, 4) = ".htm" _
             Or Right(file.Name, 5) = ".html" Then

                'reads all found htm(l) files line by line
                Do Until TXT.AtEndOfStream

                      articles = TXT.ReadLine


                'trigger for the above StyleSheet item [h3] to force a page break in print

             End If


       'optional disclaimer in a directory 1 level down
       Set TXT = FSO.OpenTextFile(Server.MapPath("\Dir1Down\Disclaimer.htm"), 1)

       'reads the optional disclaimer
       Do Until TXT.AtEndOfStream

             disclaimer = TXT.ReadLine


       'destroys all 4 object variables
       Set TXT = Nothing
       Set FIL = Nothing
       Set FOL = Nothing
       Set FSO = Nothing %>


    You will have to adapt only a few settings to make this code work for you. If you have any questions please write me. I'll be happy to help you!
    QuestionHave you guys tried this? Pin
    ChristianCalderon15-Feb-04 17:32
    memberChristianCalderon15-Feb-04 17:32 
    AnswerRe: Have you guys tried this? Pin
    Uwe Keim15-Feb-04 20:49
    sitebuilderUwe Keim15-Feb-04 20:49 
    Generalaspretrieve.dll in asp .net Pin
    haninaya2-Dec-03 4:38
    memberhaninaya2-Dec-03 4:38 
    QuestionHow to through proxy? Pin
    tonyjun15-Oct-02 23:30
    susstonyjun15-Oct-02 23:30 
    QuestionHow to get AspRetrieve? Pin
    Anonymous20-Sep-02 0:48
    sussAnonymous20-Sep-02 0:48 
    AnswerRe: How to get AspRetrieve? Pin
    Uwe Keim20-Sep-02 0:58
    sitebuilderUwe Keim20-Sep-02 0:58 
    GeneralRe: How to get AspRetrieve? Pin
    Anonymous20-Sep-02 1:06
    sussAnonymous20-Sep-02 1:06 
    GeneralHey ,Uwe.I use your component,some error occured. Pin
    Anonymous20-Sep-02 1:29
    sussAnonymous20-Sep-02 1:29 
    GeneralConfirmation of Previous Message Pin
    Gravity6-Aug-02 20:42
    sussGravity6-Aug-02 20:42 
    GeneralRe: Confirmation of Previous Message Pin
    Uwe Keim20-Sep-02 0:59
    sitebuilderUwe Keim20-Sep-02 0:59 
    QuestionIs WinInet really suitable for this ?? Pin
    Christian Tratz20-Jun-01 5:10
    memberChristian Tratz20-Jun-01 5:10 
    QuestionCan someone send me a compiled dll Pin
    Alan Warchuck8-Mar-01 11:21
    memberAlan Warchuck8-Mar-01 11:21 
    QuestionNew session? Pin
    Guy25-Jan-01 1:01
    memberGuy25-Jan-01 1:01 
    Questionbug? Pin
    Andre Milton18-Jan-01 21:52
    memberAndre Milton18-Jan-01 21:52 
    AnswerRe: bug? Pin
    Uwe Keim18-Jan-01 21:54
    memberUwe Keim18-Jan-01 21:54 
    GeneralRe: bug? Pin
    Andre Milton18-Jan-01 22:02
    memberAndre Milton18-Jan-01 22:02 

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