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How "dynamic" does your site have to be?

What level of technology do I really need?


Before I elaborate - no more than is actually demanded by function. Technology is there to enable you whenever needed. Remember the first rule of programmers: anything can be done - if you're willing pay for it! Make sure, before you invest in an idea, it will do something useful or make you money.

Internet Outsource Tampabay is here to assist you in your choices selecting what level of sophistication you really need - be it a data driven application or simple, static pages.

What is a "dynamic" or data driven site and what are "static" pages?  


Static pages (html) do nothing but display text and images - enough for some purposes. On the opposite side is a totally "data driven site" - fairly rare - only the largest sites go that far. The pages are created in pieces, on demand, from a database and patched together like a quilt. Most web sites fall somewhere in between.

Common data driven formats are ASP, PHP Cold Fusion, Java Server Pages and the Microsoft's newest entry Dot Net.

  positive aspects of data driven sites
  • Saves storage space on the server.
  • Can update many instances of same data at once.
  • Can redesign a large site in a fraction of the time.
  • Can perform functions like calculating insurance rates, gathering email addresses and sending out newsletters, etc.
negative aspects of data driven sites
  • Way more expensive initially.
  • Not user friendly for maintenance.
  • Dynamic pages, if created on the fly from a database, are not searchable by the spiders and robots that read web pages for the search engines - they will not be indexed.
Ask yourself these questions
How much do I need to put in a database ?

   
No more than you have to! If it occurs once just put it on a page . Microsoft's dynamic online encyclopedia Encarta is a beautiful example of a complicated data driven web mega-site.

Updating all instances of an item of data could be very time consuming in a conventional web site. The traditional printed encyclopedia is all but extinct because as soon as it is printed it it needs revision. The online encyclopedia, however, is never out of date! Multiple instances of a single item needing correction in numerous locations are at once updated by a single act on the database.

What about Flash?

Flash animations have their use but are truly not necessary. They are useful when you need to display more relevant content than you could with a conventional animated image (GIF) or embed a video in a page.

Flash, when installed from an online prompt, installs incorrectly so some people disable Flash or don't let it install. Google Flash9b.ocx and you will be amazed at what havoc the Flash player can play on your system when it is installed 'with a click' from an online prompt - never upgrade the Flash player that way.

To safely upgrade your Flash player do it HERE.

Flash intros always have a "Skip Intro" button for a good reason - nobody watches them! Save your money.

The searchable (text) content in a Flash based web site is invisible to most search engines, and on-page text has replaced key words as as a search criteria for (at least) Google. Google now claims they can read the text in a Flash site. It is up to you to take the gamble: is Google your only target for searches?

Is my site going to be software or a publication?

By this I mean are you showcasing a product for off-line sale like automobiles or home improvements, or are you selling downloadable software online? A site that gives you a requested result, like an insurance quote, from personal information submitted is software. A dynamic site is actually an online software application.

An online showcase is a publication and unnecessary programming would amount to over-engineering.

Publication sites should be administered by designers, editors and publishers, not programmers - software sites need to be maintained by programmers.  Failure to heed this has been the prime reason many a site has disappeared from view and gone out of business. It was the greatest mistake of the web boom - no workable balance between the publisher mentality and the strictly technical.

 
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