This is a draft of the editorial of the May/Jun 1997 issue of Web Apps Magazine, ISSN #1090-2287. See also: Jan/Feb 1997 Languages Issue Mar/Apr Distributed Objects Issue editorials, more about WebApps.

Dan Connolly

I'll make this brief; anyone building web database applications today has no time for leisure reading. There are just too many databases to connect, and too little time. I hope the articles here will save you an hour or two, providing a return on your investment here.

Client-server database systems are nothing new; they're the meat-and-potatoes of information technology. Connecting them to the web is a natural. In fact, did you know that the first web server ever exported the CERN phone database via HTTP?

But the Web does stretch things a bit.

It stretches performance: at a million hits a day, three tiers is not a novelty, but a simple model to start with. Add caching and replicatio to suit your tastes and requirements.

It stretches--or shrinks, rather--development time: it's bad enough that the shelf-life of a software application is down to 18 months max: web database applications can last as little as a month for a promotiona campaign or a day for a special event. Sometimes it's hard to justify a lot of design and planning only to throw it all away: crossing your fingers or saying a prayer might seem more worth-while. But with the whole world watching your site, it's imperative to plan for every contingency and to develop technology that preserves your investment and experience from one project to the next.

It stretches organizational boundaries; from personal calendars and address books, to group schedules and issue tracking, to corporate resouce management, to cross-enterprise interchange, to mass-media communications.

So without further ado, I invite you to dive into the experience, techniques, and strategies in this issue; I think they'll give you some increased flexibility to make the stretch.