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Updated : 14th. February 2004 -
  • I have started using a very powerful product call Dynamic PSP, which generates Web pages using Oracle PL/SQL procedures.
    Here's a simple demonstration showing it being used to generate a hierarchy, based on Oracle's CONNECT BY extension to SQL.
    Updated : 30th. July 2003 -
  • An interesting book was published on 6th. October, 2003, Agile Database Techniques.
    The author is the respected writer on O-O/ERD matters, Scott Ambler, discussing an Extreme Database Approach, and gets 4.5 stars on Amazon.
    We would be pleased to hear your views, and especially any relevant hands-on experience.

    Updated : 29th. April 2003 -
    Here's some entries in the 'Access to HTML' Category which provide wizards to build Database-driven Web Sites :-
  • Caspio Bridge from Caspio - rated 3 stars out of 5 by PC Magazine.
  • Coordinize (free download) - rated 2 stars out of 5 by PC Magazine.
  • DBtoHTML from XLineSoft.
  • eCriteria (free membership) - rated 2 stars out of 5 by PC Magazine.
  • GenericDB from Eli Robillard.
  • QuickBase (free entry-level membership).
  • SQL WebApp, Java-oriented, from Bense
    Added : March 17th.2003 -
    Since I first wrote these words, things have changed significantly - again.
    My personal outlook has changed from Cold Fusion to Microsoft ASPs.
    This was because I found it hard to locate Cold Fusion developers at an affordable price, and
    equally hard to locate affordable ISPs to host Cold Fusion.
    The most important development in recent months has been Macromedia's Dreamweaver MX and ColdFusion MX.
    I have updated this Page to include a mention of CodeCharge,
    which I like because it seems to offers the same facilities as DreamWeaver, for a fraction of the price at $139,

    I have added a listing a few of the available Development Tools, which are aimed specifically at
    developing Database-backed Web Sites, especially ColdFusion, which is my personal favorite.

    Original Text :-
    This summary is abstracted from a review published by the PC-Team, a German Web Site.
    The development of Web applications has evolved significantly during the past year or two. 
    The requirement is ideally a Tool which can generate code for either UNIX or Windows,
    using different languages (Perl, ASP, Java, PHP, etc.).
    The basic components for Web application development are a Web server and a browser. 
    After choosing a programming language, server-side code is created. 
    Typically, such code receives input from the browser and interacts with internal resources 
    such as a database or other applications. 
    The browser, for the most part, contains the presentation layer. 
    Issues like graphics schemes, styles, and color schemes must be decided and then implemented 
    in a way that the browser can display. 
    The collection of HTML Pages is mapped into the application logic as a series of requests and responses.

    There are different approaches to development of Database-backed Web Sites :-
    1. Write code for Java Server Pages,(JSPs), or Microsoft Active Server Pages,("ASPs").
    2. Use PHP with MySQL.
    3. Use a commercial product to generate code for your choice, specifically designed for this purpose, such as CodeCharge or UltraDev.

    1) Of these options, ASPs are easy to learn because they are just like Visual Basic embedded in HTML. For a book, check out Professional Active Server pages, 2.0, from WROX Press (ISBN 1861001266).

    2) An example of PHP with MySQL can be seen on this Page for a Hotel Reservation System.

    3) For CodeCharge, check out their Web Site, which also offers Template Code for a variety of useful applications, such as Portals.

    4) For UltraDev, since I first wrote this things have changed again since I recommended a product called Drumbeat.
    At the end of January,2001, it was announced that Macromedia,(with Ultradev) have taken over Cold Fusion.
    So we can expect the two products to merge into one with the aim of complete domination of 'open' Web Development Toolkits.
    But it will probably take a while because they are both well-established mature products.
    It was also supported by an impressive training program and priced competitively.
    So I believe that Cold Fusion and Ultradev are now on a par and which you choose
    may depend on factors such as your starting-point and current skill-set.
    Ultradev is positioned to appeal to designers who want to extend the high level of
    visual design of Dreamweaver with Database support.

    ANSWER :

    Step 1 : Choose a Product
    Here are three options :-
    1) Cold Fusion, (from MacroMedia)
    2) IBM WebSphere Studio
    2) Ultradev, (also from MacroMedia).
    Because :-
    1) Microsoft Access is not powerful enough
    2) Microsoft SQL Server is not easy to use for a beginner to Database applications.
    3) Neither are Oracle and IBM DB2.
    Cold Fusion is my first recommmendation. I've used it myself
    and found it very easy to get started and it's very intuitive.
    I also tried Ultradev but it has a steep learning curve and I
    coudn't spare the time. 
    If you are already familiar with Dreamweaver, one aspect of Ultradev that 
    might make it worth trying is that it is owned by Macromedia, who own Dreamweaver, 
    so they can be integrated well, although I don't think that knowing Dreamweaver 
    will help you in learning Ultradev.
    So if you want to see results early on (which is always
    gratifying and encouraging), try Cold Fusion.
    Cold Fusion is also easy for people with a Database background and provides
    'CF Tags' which offer Database-specific extensions to HTML.

    Step 2 : Buy a Book
    In particular, look for a simple book for the beginner which 
    has a CD-ROM with the necessary software to get you started.
    Bear in mind that you need :-
    1) a Client (front-end) development enviroment.
    2) a Server (back-end) to intepret the ColdFusion tags
       and generate HTML for the Browser.
    Make sure both of these are on the CD-ROM.
    Here are three options :-
    1) Coldfusion 4 for Dummies ISBN: 0764506048, which costs only $19.99 on
       People are often disparaging about the Dummies series, but the one or two I've
       bought have been very good.
    2) Here's one I bought today !!! (May 6th. 2002), written by the highly-respected 
       'Cold Fusion Evangelist', Ben Forta. It comes with 30-day versions of Cold Fusion Express
       and HomeSite on a CD-ROM :-
          SAMS Teach Yourself ColdFusion Express in 24 hours, (4.5 Stars out of 5 on Amazon). 
    3) The Coldfusion 4.0 Web Application Construction Kit - ISBN: 078971809X 
       Author : Ben Forte, price $39.99 at, and 4.5 Stars out of 5 Stars from 81 reviews.
       This is the book which everybody likes. Ben Forte works for MacroMedia, the vendors
       of Cold Fusion, and he is highly regarded as the evangelist for Cold Fusion.
    4) Then there is also a follow-on - Advanced Cold Fusion 4 Application Development 
       4.5 Stars on Amazon, by the same author, (ISBN: 0789718103). 
       Cold Fusion has an e-commerce option, so you can see it's a product for the long-haul.
    So if you have a long-term requirement, and money is not a show-stopper, then buy
    the Ben Forte book, and set aside a week-end to get started and see some progress.
    Otherwise, I'd recommend the ColdFusion Express book,(number 2).

    Step 3 : Install the Software
    Install the Cold Fusion software off the CD-ROM at the back of the book.
    If you have problems, check out the Discussion Group, described in Step 5.

    Step 4 : Spend a few days on the first few lessons

    Step 5 : Check out a Discussion Group
    This is especially helpful if you have come across problems.
    A Discussion group for Cold Fusion would normally be on,
    but you will find the Cold Fusion Discussion Group on the vendor's Site.
    and you should check out the Web Monkey Cold Fusion Web Site

    Step 6 : Find an ISP which hosts Cold Fusion
    If you want to publish your Cold Fusion Pages over the Internet,
    you will need to find an ISP which hosts Cold Fusion, and fortunately
    there's quite a choice because Cold Fusion is very popular.
    Go to a Web Site such as Find a Host, Find Your Hosting, or DevShed Hosting Search,
    and enter 'cold fusion' or 'coldfusion' in the Search box.
    You'll get about 92 results from FindAHost,(last time I checked on May 2nd.).
    In fact the FindaHost Site is driven by Cold Fusion !!!
    Ultradev, in contrast, returns only 10 ISPs.
    And that's all there is to it !!!
    If you follow this path, please Email us and let us know how you get on.

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