Database Driven Website
To understand database driven website, you need to be able to differenciate between 'static web pages' and 'dynamic web pages'. We first distinguish them here:
Typical non-dynamic web pages do not change every time the page is loaded by the browser, nor do they change if a user clicks on a button. The only change that you will see in static web pages is to see them load and unload, like what happens when you click on a hyperlink.
Specifically, static web pages always look the same and the content never changes unless you upload a new page or you change the page yourself and upload the new version of the page to the web server.
Dynamic pages do the opposite, they can change every time they are loaded (without you having to make those changes) and they can change their content based on what user do, like clicking on some text or an image.
Now a the real movie,
DATABASE DRIVEN WEB PAGES
We build dynamic web pages by using database systems. This means that we design a web page that grabs information from a database (the web page is connected to the database by scripting language) and inserts that information into the web page each time it is loaded.
If the information stored in the database changes, the web page connected to the database will also change accordingly (and automatically) without human intervention.
Consider the example of zalongwa software, an academic register information system where you can log in (by entering your user name and password) and check out your examination results. Your exam results information is stored in a database and has been connected to the web page with programming thus enabling you to see your exam information.
Imagine if the web page holding your exam information had to be built traditionally (that is by hand) every time your exam results changed! Even a thousand monkeys working 24/7 drinking 25 bottles of 'gongo or mnazi' a day, would not be able to keep up for all students at the Universities!
We build database driven sites using several competing technologies, each with it’s own advantages but we are in favor of: PHP andJSP in combination with AJAX technology.
Database driven web site programming can also be called (or characterized as): ‘server side programming’. The reason it is so called is because the ‘action’ or magic that allows the web pages to connect to the database is actually taking place on the server.
This is what happens: each time a dynamic web page is about to be sent to the browser, the server automatically builds the page and sends a standard HTML page to the browser. The server 'knows' how to build the page by following the instructions provided by the programmer.