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Database Integration

A typical web site relies on HTML documents that contain specific information and are individually coded. When the information changes, someone must update the text and any associated tags. If the information changes frequently, staying on top of individual HTML documents can consume countless hours and create document management nightmares. A practical solution to this problem is to store the information in a database where it can be updated easily and then create web pages directly from the database.

Many businesses already have databases filled with useful information: product specifications, customer data, employee information. Having this information readily available over the Web would improve business processes by providing just the right information at the right time.

Also, being able to insert and update data in a database over the Web can save time, effort, and be essential for business. Customer feedback and online ordering (using enhanced security, of course) are two significant types of data to collect from external users. On an internal web, you may want to collect employee data such as weekly timesheets, expenses, or project updates. HTML forms and a database let you easily collect and manage this information.

Each of these situations is an example of how and why you can use database integration to add critical functionality to your web.

           

Depending upon your project goals and requirements, your site may be best served by employing pre-developed Active Server Page (ASP) scripts to achieve simple data access to Microsoft Access databases, or any other ODBC-compliant relational database format.  Generally, for more complex applications, we utilize ColdFusion technology as our development platform.

ColdFusion brings together the power of the Web and relational databases to organize and rapidly deliver information. ColdFusion combines several existing technologies with its own capabilities to provide this functionality:

  • DBML (Database Markup Language, a Cold Fusion innovation)
  • Templates (a mixture of HTML and DBML tagged instructions for querying the database and formatting the results)
  • CGI (Common Gateway Interface)
  • SQL (Structured Query Language)
  • ODBC (Open Database Connectivity)

 

 

Using these technologies, we can quickly build ColdFusion applications that are robust and more flexible than similar applications requiring first generation, code-intensive techniques. ColdFusion applications are extremely robust because all database interactions are encapsulated in a single industrial-strength database processing engine. And they are flexible because all formatting and presentation is done using standard HTML files, which can be modified and revised at any time.

 

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