RE: Appropriate Technology?

Subject: RE: Appropriate Technology?
From: Matthew Horn <mhorn -at- macromedia -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 21 Aug 2002 07:31:26 -0400


This is the classic dynamic vs. static debate.

>>...I can see no need for dynamic content, meaning content that appears as the
>>result of the user selecting options and getting customized information as a

While this may be the case, there are alot more benefits to using a web application server (like ColdFusion, BEA, WebLogic, JRun, ASP, etc) than outputting dynamic content. For example, dynamically driven pages make it much easier to make global changes to format and UI plus you can tack on additional functionality as your needs grow.

Your main objections to a database-driven intranet versus static appear to be that Access is not a good database. This is, arguably, true. However, there are other solutions that still use databases that ARE good. For example, how about MySQL, Oracle, Sybase or SQLServer? You can use a product like ColdFusion or any number of other HTML-based tag libraries (such as the JSTL) to make access to this database as easy as writing HTML. And MySQL is free.

If you start with a flexible, smart solution now, you won't be stuck in static HTML land in the future when you want to do flexible, smart stuff.

You cite some concerns:

>> Performance hits.

Not a problem with ~30 concurrent users with MySQL or other databases or any application server (even Tomcat!). Most app servers can handle hundreds of requests per second.

>> Added steps and complexity.

You don't have to "cut and paste" into Access. You can use a database to contain pointers to files rather than the files themselves.

>> Translation.

L1onbridge and other translation companies often ASK for files in a database and often use DBs themselves to maintain rolling translation work. If the ones you use do not, you can output any type of file from a database.

>> Maintenance.

Despite what well-paid consultants and developers say, basic database maintenance is NOT hard, and is actually fun.

This is a big subject. Feel free to contact me offlist if you want to talk about specific approaches.

Matthew Horn
Sr. Technical Writer
< m a c r o m e d i a >

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