Thursday, 22 October 2015

Database driven websites

This is the information age and there are now millions of websites on the internet.The vast majority of these are "static" websites - many impressive in design and looks. Like the glossy magazines in the newsagent they look great but do not actually "do" very much. Static sites have had their day and the next phase is data driven websites!

Data driven websites use a database such as Microsoft's SQL Server or MySQL (or others) to store the data, code pages such as C#, VisualBasic or Perl to crunch the data and HTML to display it in a user friendly interface. Examples of some data driven websites are Amazon (online store), eBay (auction site), Howrse (horse trading game) and Basecamp (project management). These all allow you to do things like register, log in and send messages and make purchases. These are enormous sites that have taken years and millions of dollars to develop.

But it's not just the mega-companies that have data driven websites - even the smallest companies are now using the web to provide information in real time to their customers, suppliers and the public. This is generally being done by using 3rd party websites which allow you to set up an accounts on their website and then incorporate that functionality into your website. Web developers often use "smoke and mirrors" to subtly transfer us from one website to another without our knowledge. This is all done through the clever use of matching colors, fonts and common banners.

Web Applications

Organizations are also increasingly moving their computer systems on to the web - these are also called web applications or web based applications s well as data driven websites. As computer systems are being replaced we have been moving away from the client server model (a Windows or Mac application and a centralized database). Instead most development is using a web based model where all that the user needs is a browser. There are many advantages, especially with the proliferation of iPhones, Android and Windows CE handsets.

* Easier deployment (no need to send to each and every user)

* Centralized data and application

* Very thin client - no need for processing power at the user end

* Easy access - from anywhere in the world with an internet connection

With web applications or we can access our data when we want to using a variety of devices... no longer are we tied to the desk.

Content Management

Not only can we access the data from where anywhere we can also change it and update it whenever and wherever. Most data driven websites include a CMS (Contact Management System) that allows you to edit the textual or visual content in real time. No special skills or technology required - just log in and click on an edit icon to start editing - update the news or fix up the homepage there and then.

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