Data-Enabled Web Sites:Classibooks.com & Internet Database Technologies Colin Fukai April 4, 2000Gonzaga University
Background • Education • Gonzaga University: BBA (MIS, HR) - 2000 • My “Internet Credentials” • 4 years of web design/construction experience • www.ticketswest.com • www.cavanaughs.com • www.planetquake.com • Contacting Me • www.colinfukai.com • Colin@colinfukai.com
Introduction • Database connectivity and the web • The web is simply a new interface for structured data collections Internet DB Web Page
Introduction Cont. • Benefits • E-commerce $$$$$ • Thin clients, dumb terminals, and centralized computing (web apps) • Drawbacks • Complexity • Time & Resources • Security
Classibooks.com • A “Meeting Place”. • Registered users (sellers) post their used textbooks. • Buyers browse the listings and then contact the seller. • Classibooks.com does not sell anything, it just makes the connection between buyer and seller.
Technologies • Database • MS Access • Web Server • NT Server 4, IIS 4 • Server Side Scripting • ASP • Development Tools • Interdev, Visual Basic
Databases • LOGICAL DESIGN! • Considerations • Size • Complexity • Separation of data and processes • Classibooks Database • Customer (seller) • Post (the book listings)
Web Server • Microsoft NT Server 4 • Internet Information Server 4 (IIS4) • Setting up a site with NT Server 4: • Internet Service Manager • Web directory (Inetpub/wwwroot/yoursite) • ODBC Connection (DSN)
Server Side Scripting Cont. • ASP is really just a way to “dynamically generate” web pages. • It is based on the Visual Basic language which is easy to use and familiar to many programmers. • Provides many powerful built-in capabilities, such as database connectivity.
Server Side Scripting Cont. • How does an ASP page work? ASP Page <html><h1>My Site</h1><% Dim myVarmyVar = Time()Reponse.Write myVar%></html> WEB Serverprocesses ASP page, returns results USER (Internet Browser) Static Web Page
A Simple ASP Page Example <HTML> <HEAD> <TITLE>ASP Page</TITLE> </HEAD> <BODY> <H1>My TEST ASP Page</H1> <P> <% Dim myVar myVar = “Hello World” Response.Write myVar %> </BODY> </HTML>
Variable Initialize Output Tag indicates ASP code A Closer Look at the Code <% Dim myVar myVar = “Hello World” Response.Write myVar %>
A More “Complex” Example Input.htm Output.asp Input Output
Pass form values to this page Input Submit the information Input.htm <html> <head> <title>Where Am I for sign-in sheets</title> </head> <body> <h1>Type the information to make a sign-in sheet for the New Products seminar.</h1> <br> <form action=“Output.asp" method=post> <p><input value="name of city" name ="City"> <p><input value="date of seminar" name ="Date"> <p><input type="submit" value="Click here to submit the information"> </form> </body> </html>
Get data from input box “City” and output it Get data from input box “Date” and output it Output.asp <body> <h1>Spokane Clothiers Welcome to the New Products Seminar</h1> Held In <% Dim strCity strCity = Request.Form("City") Response.Write strCity %> on <% Dim strDate strDate = Request.Form("Date") Response.Write strDate %> <p align="left"> Please sign in by printing your name at the front desk. <hr> </body>
Development Tools • Microsoft Visual Interdev • Part of “Visual Studio” • Rapid Application Development for the web • Overview of the Interdev Integrated Development Environment
Interdev IDE Project Explorer Item Properties Toolbox Main Editing Window
InterDev Example • What do we need to accomplish a simple page, connected to a database? • Win 9x or Win NT • IIS or Personal Web Server (PWS) • A database and working knowledge of how a simple DBMS like MS Access works. • Time and patience… the tools are more powerful and simple than ever, but that means more things can go wrong.
Personal Web Server • Obtaining & installing • Good for workstation testing • Create a new site • Know what default page name is (default.asp, index.htm)
Interdev Example Cont. • Create a new project • Create an ASP page • Create a database connection • Add a “recordset” to the page • Set that recordset’s source fields (SQL) • Connect form controls (e.g., listboxes) to the recordset or simply output it as text • View page
ASP Issues • Connecting to the database • DSN = A file that contains commands for connecting to a database. • DSN or DSN-less? • ASP Components • Compiled modules of code that interact with your web site. • Separates business logic from the web pages themselves.
ASP Issues Cont. • ASP Components Cont. • Components are written with fully featured languages like Visual Basic or Visual C++. • Modularity, Reusability. • How to use a component: • Compile component (.dll) • Register component on the web server • Create instance of component object in ASP code to access the component’s properties and methods.
The Alternatives… • Chilisoft (www.chilisoft.com) • Run ASP on any web server, and not just NT • Cold Fusion (www.allaire.com) • Cold fusion markup language • PHPx (www.php.net) • It’s free!
ASP Resources • msdn.microsoft.com • msdn.microsoft.com/asp • Good starting point • www.15seconds.com • www.learnasp.com • www.4guysfromrolla.com
Conclusion • Know what you want to accomplish BEFORE deciding how to construct it. • Do not invest in resources that you will not, practically, need, but do plan for the future – in other words, watch out for “chicken little” salesmen. • Put yourself in the user’s shoes. • Functionality and content above flashiness. • Data design as important as site design.