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Dynamic Presentation Methods

Browsinform - Comparison of Approaches to Page Generation

  Static Pages Server Generated Pages Java Grids Browsinform
Technology Used to View the Information Standard browser; can use LAN, WAN, Intranet or Internet Standard browser; requires Internet or Intranet access and a Web Server Standard browser; can use LAN, WAN, Intranet or Internet Standard browser; can use LAN, WAN, Intranet or Internet
Tools to generate the pages Database built-in utilities, third-party utilities, or manually Specialized CGI, JSP, ASP, ColdFusion or similar technology Either using Java APIs or applet parameters Automatic based on parameter declarations
Generation tools usable by Non-programmers Yes No Usually No, but depends on the program Yes
Flexibility for the user / features Very little: lists cannot be sorted nor searches refined As much as provided by the back-end server programs; usually very flexible for the user Comparable to the Server-based solution for searches in the most advanced packages, but may be limited in lower-end packages (e.g., ability to search on keywords only, no listbox or checkbox capabilities). Comparable to the Server-based solution, i.e. maximum flexibility allows for easy searches and sorts on any column.
Ability to update Look and Feel Limited with utilities, practically none with manual generation Excellent, but  requires costly programming Very limited, although some programs allow you to specify simple things like colors and cell widths Very good: simply adjust the preferences using the parameters
Access to rapidly changing data None Excellent since it connects directly to the database Delayed because an intermediary file needs to be generated Flexible: can either connect to the database, or use an intermediary file "batch" generated from the database
Require users' browser configuration No No No No
Access speed Excellent, although since large lists cannot be filtered, the display time can become significant for large amounts of data Good to Very Good, depending on the connection speed; faster than static pages when only a subset of the master list is displayed.

Each new query and sort requires regeneration of the list from the server, i.e. each sorting is as slow or fast as the first access.

Good to Very Good, depending on the connection speed.

The initial access depends on the connection speed since the entire data is read into the browser; further searches and sorts are executed within the browser, without reconnection to the server, hence are very fast.

Good to Very Good, depending on the connection speed.

The initial access depends on the connection speed since the entire data is read into the browser; further searches and sorts are executed within the browser, without reconnection to the server, hence are very fast.

Can be used on a CD-ROM or by PCs not connected to the network (e.g. field laptops) Yes No (web server on PC or modem to the server would be needed) Yes Yes
Cost to develop Low High to very high Low, depending on the complexity of the interface Very low
Implementation Methods Generate the HTML pages from the database. Requires minimal knowledge of the tool. This generates a set of files that can then be incorporated in the site.

The page generation can also be done with custom designed programs to tailor the display to exact specifications

The program that connects to the database and generates the page (CGI, ASP, etc.), needs to be written by a programmer. Once the program is written, no action needed, as each page is generated as it is requested by the users Uses Java to display the pages. Some products allow you to specify query forms within or outside of the displayed table. Both the query form and the result pages are generated automatically by Browsinform.
Results presentation Leverages the browser's capabilities, e.g., printing, hyperlinks, graphics/image display Leverages the browser's capabilities, e.g., printing, hyperlinks, graphics/image display

May be limited to the display capabilities of the program (usually not as rich as the browser's)

Leverages the browser's capabilities, e.g., printing, hyperlinks, graphics/image display
Custom queries and processing not available  Requires new programming of the back-end

no

You can add Java classes or JavaScript functions to customize the behavior