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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 emerge.

There are two basic architectures to follow in designing solutions for Intranet/Internet data access.

Static Model

Static Architecture

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 latest information.

Dynamic Model

Dynamic Architecture

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"; and
  • 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.

Last modified: Saturday, 15 October 2011


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