Data Access Architectures
for the Internet
by Lloyd Borrett
AVBUG Backup, June/July 1997
As the Web browser becomes the user interface of choice due to
its ease of use and simplicity of navigation, businesses are busy
building solutions that allow data delivery directly to the
browser via the Intranet or Internet. To build these
"information at your fingertips" solutions effectively,
a sound architecture is required. Successful architectures and
best practices for Intranet/Internet data access allow flexible
designs and maintainable business solutions. Well architected
solutions stand the test of time, even as new technologies
There are two basic architectures to follow in designing
solutions for Intranet/Internet data access.
The first architecture is the static model. This model
requires good publishing tools for generating static HTML pages.
Under this model, any user with proper authority can call up a
report directory page that allows navigating to a specific
pre-produced report with a limited life. As new data becomes
available, new reports must be generated with the latest
information through the same process.
The Web Publication process in this model can be automated to
the extent allowed by the publishing tool. A report menu page
would suffice as a navigation device, guiding the user to the
In contrast, the dynamic model allows a variety of techniques
in publishing information or making the latest data available on
a demand basis. The dynamic model assumes direct real-time access
to a database somewhere on the network. It is also flexible
enough to allow some static model elements to coexist.
The requirements for a dynamic implementation are:
- a Web server supporting server-side scripting;
- a browser that displays "Active Server Pages";
- real-time connectivity to the database through the Web
server or an applet with a remote data connection.
Applications can be built with Active Server Page technology,
with an applet or program that is "launched" from the
browser maintaining direct connection to the database, or a
combination of these approaches.
Depending on the requirements of your business solution,
either architecture may suit your purpose and make productive end
users of your data. If accessibility of information and lowest
cost of ownership is an objective, using the Intranet or Internet
as the data delivery method can be cost effective and satisfying
to the end user.
Saturday, 15 October 2011