On Wed, Mar 29, 2000 at 07:16:52PM +0000, John McCormac wrote:
> Niall wrote:
>> I think you've misunderstood the context of the term "database backed
> website" Niall.
Well, that's why I asked
> Or did you mean something entirely different ?
> In your model it seems that only sections of the site
> are stored in a database or in the case of a search engine, a subset of
> each page is stored. With a database backed website, the database *is*
> the website.
Well, database <> website. Can you point a browser at an Oracle table ? No.
However, to paraphrase Knuth,
database + programs = website
In your model, only sites which provide personalisation are database backed
web sites. I tend towards Greenspun's attitude which is simply that a web
site is a user interface for a database. www.inpho.ie, for instance, was
developed exactly according to Greenspun's "theory on how to develop a
database-backed Web site" (though it predates the book)
> A lot of sites, including the ones you mentioned have
> databases running sections of the site such as searches and archives.
Conceded - ireland.com would still exist without its archive database,
although it would be less useful (at least to me). buyandsell.net, I think,
wants to be more than its free ads but that's all I use it for - that is
completely database backed. You may not like the UI (I may not either) but
that doesn't alter the fact that it is database backed - no database, no
web-site. ebid.ie is also a user interface for a database.
> However putting the whole site inside the database and then generating
> the pages on the fly is a completely different affair.
Online doesn't do this - they have a number of static pages. slidefile.ie
has a number of static pages, but is also essentially a user interface to a
database. www.inpho.ie has exactly 5 static pages, which all have static
information (e.g. a help page)
> Such an operation allows for extreme customisation for users so that
> they can get exactly what they want and any advertising can be precisely
> targeted. This requires some very serious investment in hardware,
> databases and programming. The only company that has so far attempted
> this kind of an operation is online.ie and even they have some way to go
> yet before making it all operational.
Yes, they have, and I'm looking forward to seeing how it all works out. I've
had some involvement with online (doing work for a couple of their content
providers) so I've an idea of the scale of their undertaking. I can't help
feeling that they should have waited until more of their good stuff was in
place, but I understand the pressures they were under.
> However if you look at the structure, you can see that each article is
> being pulled in to the page on the fly by index.adp from a database. Sites
> like Ireland.com seem to publish out static pages rather than letting the
> user access the database of webpages directly.
Yes, but at the moment, you still only get the same resultant static view of
their content. online doesn't allow you to "access the database of webpages
directly". I know online is going to change from that model. However,
ireland.com right now allows me to do historical searches - I think this
counts to some extent as "access(ing) the database of webpages directly"
online.ie does not provide this facility, or if they do, they have it well
Niall O Broin
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