How to build dynamic web pages using SQL Server?


Are you looking for ways to create dynamic web page like ones containing fully interactive online order systems? Apart from Internet Explorer and ActiveX technologies, there are many other ways to build such a web page. Read the article to know how you can build dynamic web pages using SQL Server.

A dynamic web page interacts with users. An online order system, for example, is a fully interactive dynamic web page. Most people think of Internet Explorer and ActiveX technologies when the word interactive is mentioned but there are other options also. Microsoft SQL Server is one of them.

Ways to build dynamic web pages using SQL Server


There are many ways to build good, dynamic web pages using Microsoft Internet Information Server. All these tools can be downloaded from the Microsoft website and they help greatly to build web pages.

Using Internet Database Connector (IDC)

Internet Information Server has built-in capacity to interface with any ODBC compliant database for which a 32 bit ODBC driver exists. There are three steps for creating IDC web pages. First, create a web page form. Then create an IDC interface file and then create another HTML file to use as a template for the resulting output of your query.

To create a web page form, you can use any text editor. I recommend using any WYSIWYG editor and use Microsoft Front Page myself because it easily builds web pages using the familiar Windows GUI. It is not necessary that you know how to write HTML documents but knowing the syntax is always better, especially if you have to edit the document manually. To build a guest book, you need one form to insert information into your ODBC database and another to query your database. The second form is optional because you may not want to allow your internet clients to browse the database.

Developing an interactive web page using IDC is trickier than developing one using Microsoft db Web. Microsoft db Web which is an ISAPI application is also a good tool to build interactive web pages. The db Web is very similar to Internet Database
Connector (IDC) but we recommend using IDC due to the following three reasons:

  • Query control- If you are an experienced database developer with knowledge of database's query language, IDC gives finer control levels. The IDC requires users to specify a query rather than supplying one directly. This gives a fine tuned control of what will be returned by the query.

  • Layout control- If you are an experienced HTML developer, IDC gives finer control over how the users interact with your web pages. Because you only create the input forms for obtaining the query and web pages to display the query result, you also get to decide the look of your web page.

  • Reusability – You can copy the basic parts or components of IDC skeleton to build a variant input form or a query result page quickly. These components are the source code, .IDC and .HTX files. Microsoft db Web requires you to build a new schema and data source.

  • Using SQL Server Web Assistant

    The major difference between IDC and Web Assistant is that the latter is not designed to interact with the user. Instead, the Web Assistant is designed to publish a database online by creating static web pages which can be automatically refreshed when a new record is inserted into the database or when a specific interval is reached. Web page contents can interact dynamically if you combine the IDC with web administrator. You can even create an online order system this way. Creating this would require an event-driven processing methodology where you will have to respond to actions that occur. Build an online catalog first by using a query design to select all items from the product inventory database when the item quantity is greater than one. This web page could include a hypertext link to another page containing order form. Next, create an order form and an order database of the client and the product ordered. For optimum results, this should be a client/ server database like SQL rather than an application based one like Access. This would allow you to benefit from the capability to execute code automatically.

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