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Web Database FAQs

Content management systems

Why do I need a web database at all?

Large websites are very difficult to maintain by hand. Although it is possible to create a uniform style across a large website using HTML style sheets, keeping the links working in such a large site is not easy.

But why are the links important? Anyone who has ever tried to use a large site with broken links will know the answer. Working links are essential to the navigability and usability of your site. If users can't get where they want to go, they will go elsewhere, and your company loses business. The best option is to store your content in a database. Then you can use software to turn your content into HTML. Such software, sometimes known as a build engine, can add links for you. A database-driven site cuts down on the risk of broken links and separates the content from the design (how it appears on the web page) and the architecture (how one piece of content relates to another).


What about web database software?

You don't need to purchase a database application that is specifically designed for the web. Regular databases such as Oracle or Microsoft Access can also be used to hold web content. Then you can use web database software, written in a content management script language such as PHP, to convert your information into web pages. Expect to pay around $400 for a database application, although remember that Microsoft Access comes as part of a couple of Microsoft Office packages.

Other web database software applications offer a more integrated solution. For example, Webdata is designed specifically for the Web, and uses your Web browser to update database entries. It costs around $200. There is another version, Webdata Pro, that allows you to design search pages. This costs around $600.

If you're a developer or programmer, you can purchase software to help with designing database-driven Web applications. For example, CodeCharge Studio 2.3 lets you convert a database (Access, MySQL, Oracle, etc) into a working Web application. Costs vary depending on which version you purchase.

What else should I know about web databases?

Although a web database does a lot of work for you, adding links and converting content into web pages, it isn't a magic solution. You will still need to keep the database updated with valid information. You should also keep checking your website - especially the links - to ensure that the information entered into your database is appearing on the web pages in the way you intended.