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No Brainer Database Publishing, Part 5

You also don't have to write any SQL commands, but you pay for that in reduced functionality. Users can do Boolean searches, but only on one field at a time--there's no relational searching or updating functionality available.

Another limitation: Showbase doesn't do dynamic updating. When your database changes, you need to re-generate the Showbase database. While this is a simple process, it does require maintenance staffing. Showbase Media plans an update in 1Q97 that performs this process automatically on a scheduled or as-needed basis. On the plus side, your database is protected from unauthorized changes by users. For infrequently-updated, non-mission-critical databases like online product catalogs and directories, the lack of dynamic updating should not be a problem. Showbase also imports dBase, ASCII label, and MARC databases, so it serves as a general-purpose workaround (like askSam and FM Pro 3.0) for publishing legacy databases on the Web.

Short and Sweet

For maximum ease of use, you just can't beat LEVEL\5's Quest Server 2.0 ($499). Quest Server 2.0 (for Windows 95, NT and Unix) lets your site users find information using fuzzy logic, concept searches, and proximity analysis. Quest 2.0 automatically generates HTML pages that sort, rank, and rate the results of database queries. It requires no CGI scripting or SQL knowledge and works with most major databases. You can download a demo copy at the LEVEL\5 site.

Power DBMS Solutions

There are several relational-database bridging products on the market, such as Cold Fusion, WebBase, and R:BASE. These applications connect your Web server to an SQL database, eliminating the need to write CGI code. They translate user search and update requests into SQL commands and translate returned SQL tables into HTML-based Web pages. Unfortunately, they all require solid knowledge of SQL syntax. [Move on to the next part of the article.] This article first appeared in the Jan/Feb 1997 print issue of Web Developer.



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