Databases in HTML Publishing

Introduction

Much of the technology in the Internet/Intranet/HTML arena has the objective of delivering real-time access to corporate databases, for e-commerce, order tracking etc. However, there are many applications which are more modest and require a formal publishing process. Updates need only be made infrequently. Examples are staff lists, training course syllabuses, and website directories.

Consistency of format and wording is important in website development, and in company and IT procedures and standards.

Reader customisation of documentary material is important if the information is to be used. It needs to be relevant.

Site indexing is a vital yet tedious chore.

In each of these cases:

  • non-time critical publishing
  • information consistency
  • multiple reader views
  • site indexing

you should consider using a database to store raw data and text, generating HTML from that store. Tyrrell-Lewis Associates has made extensive use of Microsoft Access for this purpose, but the principles hold good for any other development platform.

HTML is also a useful intermediate format if you want to copy information into word processing software or desktop publishing; it is easy to generate and increasingly portable. XML is becoming an even better alternative.

Examples

non-time critical publishing A Microsoft Access database stores the raw data, and Visual Basic is used to prepare the pages.
information consistency

Tyrrell-Lewis Associates frequently uses a Microsoft Access database to hold HTML templates which are used to publish into HTML.

multiple reader views Tyrrell-Lewis Associates has developed analysis methods in a database, publishing tailored views for sponsors, project managers, team members etc.
site maps See the TLA and Bricks and Brass site maps as examples. Pages prepared using Adobe Dreamweaver and other tools are documented in a Microsoft Access database. Visual Basic is used to generate the site maps.

For more information, please contact TLA.