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Designing XML Databases
What exactly is a 'web-enabled database? The World Wide Web, as everyone knows, provides the user with a host of tools with which he cane gain access to information and knowledge on the Internet and browse for information using web browsing technologies. Numerous people also use web browsing in order to deliver marketing messages, advertising information, promotional material for any products, and so on. However, what is most surprising is the fact that the World Wide Web is rarely, if ever, used for what it really must be used for: the provision to interactive business information on the Internet, through which an organization may make any number of queries for information and then gain access to the information that the queries generate. An organization can also place orders on the World Wide Web, and get all its numerous statements and records updated constantly through the browser services provided on the Internet. In a nutshell, this is what a web-enabled database must be able to do, and this is what it does if it is implemented well.
The fact is that it is not a very difficult task to create and design and develop a web-enabled database, even though different circumstances may make it more or less efficient. There are many people who believe quite strongly that the web-enabled database technology is here to stay, and this is the way that the World wide web will be used in the future, when web-based business technologies catch up with he times and make a greater impact on the day-to-day activities of any organization that has some connection with the Internet and the Intranet and other web-based technologies. It is very obvious that the situation has been gradually showing a change over the years, when a web page was nothing but a mere reproduction of a corporate brochure wherein there would be nothing different from the material that would be printed within the pages of the brochure, now there are a lot of evidences of innovations. Generally, it is the United States of America that leads the way to these innovations, but there are some positive signs in the United Kingdom too. (Web-enabled Database Development)
There are some better websites that have been developed recently, and some examples are the sites that are run by the 'Railtrack' (http://www.networkrail.co.uk/) where one can look for the railway timetable with ease, and the 'National Express', (http://www.nationalexpress.com/home/hp.cfm) where one can book railway coach tickets online. These two sites definitely provide increased customer value by linking the existing web technologies with the available business systems. When the technical system within the business provides detailed technologies so that it becomes a matter of ease to implement them into the business systems, then it is easy to inculcate a web-based front-end system into a traditionally functioning web-based system. Generally, most industrial strength database systems offer so-called 'client-server' modules, and these can be used so that they may be able to build those applications that can be delivered through the World Wide Web. However, most companies face a problem when it comes to the issue of creating and developing and implementing an XML Database system that would be used on the Web. (Web-enabled Database Development)
The problem is not usually that of a technical nature, because such problems can be overcome with relative ease; but that of costs and buy-ins. The costs vary according to the country, and it has been found that in the U.S.A., the costs are infinitely less than the costs in the UK, and also, in the U.S.A. The management is not overly awes by technology as such, and this makes it easier to implement the latest technologies into the working systems of any organization that desires to do so. The costs, as stated earlier, are lower in the U.S.A. primarily because of the fact that it is in the U.S.A. that the Internet connection charges are about one third to a quarter less than the costs for the same in the UK. Most organizations in the United States of America will generally have a connection that they have been using for quite some time, and this makes it easier to implement newer technologies into their sites, whereas in the United Kingdom, even those companies that do need speedier and faster connections still do tend to use dial up connections instead of better and more permanent ones. In addition, people in general in the UK are unwilling to take on any new risks for their companies, probably because of a fear of threatened security or something else, while people in the U.S.A. And companies in the U.S.A. are more than willing to take up risks if they feel that there would be increased profits for their companies.
It is even more common in the U.S.A. For a company to take a large risk by innovating something, and then use the situation to its maximum for its Public Relations value, and then sit back and enjoy the profits that have been generated as a result, while their competitors try their best to catch up with them with their own latest innovations and other ideas. This phenomenon would not take place anywhere lese in the world because not everyone has the courage to leap into a situation like the people in the U.S.A. do; most people do not like to take risks, as they prefer not to take any sort of risks and generate less profits for their companies rather than take an inordinate risk and end up in severe losses for their company. Therefore, for those organizations that do not want to take risks and innovate, there will be in existence a database that will generally be connected to the company's internal network. This internal network may be using the TCP/IP protocol already, though in some cases it may not exist. If it does, however, there will be an inner security layer as well as an outer security protection layer, like for example, a firewall. (Web-enabled Database Development)
In a typical configuration within an organization that uses the application, there will be a 'server' who would run the Internet Web Server, and who would deliver web pages through the security system of an outer firewall to the publicly accessible Internet. However, if it an Intranet, then the delivery system would be mush more simplified than this system, and there would be no need for the protection of a firewall. Web pages can also be delivered in the age-old traditional manner, which some people consider to be quite a bore, because the web pages are static and unchanging as they are all pre-written pages. Such pages are to be found on most web sites anywhere. Most of the time, this type of page is sufficient enough for persons, who want textual information and knowledge, and who do no want or desire anything else from the web pages that they access. However, it is indeed possible for a server to be able to generate pages that are either based on the content of the data found on the pages or in the data that has been stored within, or it is even possible to generate data that has been extracted from the large database. This is a very interesting concept that must be explored further by the servers.
The basic parts and components of a web-enabled database are as follows: the organization that uses it must have a permanent link to the Internet, it must have a web- server, it must have a firewall for protection and security, and it must have software that would be able to deliver the active application through web pages. By Internet what is actually meant is that though the company may already have a good Internet connection in place that it has been using for some time for sending out e-mails and for the purpose of browsing over the World Wide Web, it must be ready to use it further for a web enabled database system. If in case the company does not have an Internet connection, then it must be ready and willing to install one, whatever are the costs. A 'web server' must also be present within the infrastructure of the organization that would wish to install and implement a web enabled database system. Three are in fact two kinds of web servers: one that would support secure transactions, and one that does not support them. (Web-enabled Database Development)
However, most organizations do not need 'secure' transactions as a rule, unless they plan to ask for credit card details or any other information that can be classified under 'secure'. A 'firewall' however is a must for an organization that wishes to install a web enabled database system because a firewall provides adequate security against the outside world and it's prying and inquisitive eyes. As far as web pages and other software are concerned, there are plenty of issues involved in it. The first step to take would be to…[continue]
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