Preliminary model for data deployment

(Laurent dousset, 09NOV2002)

The proposed IT structure, we decided to call TAMIDOU, is as follows (see description below as well).

The principle data holder is a rDMS or rDBMS, that is, a relational database management system. MySQL has been selected as being the most appropriate software in this case for cost-reasons. The principle advantage of MySQL against PostgreSQL is the fulltext capability, a feature that is not yet implemented in PostgreSQL.

Elements of the below figure are as follows (numbering of paragraphs correspond to numbering in figure):
(as much as possible the description is made for the lay-person)

1. Users/visitors have access to the database via a web-interface (a web site). The webpages are created dynamically through the PHP scripting language. Dynamically means that the actual content of the webpages is not determined a priori, but is fetched and updated from the database every time a user visits the site or follows a link. This scripting language (PHP) fetches data from the database, formats it and sends it to the user’s browser. Once the PHP framework defined, there is no need to modify the webpages themselves, as management of the database is sufficient (see point 2).

2. The database content and structure can be managed from the backoffice. Backoffice is a restricted area with a PHP interface as a database management tool. Authorized users or administrators can access this area and modify and add content, such as change a glossary definition, insert a new link to an object, add another language spelling for a society etc. These changes will automatically be reflected in the website (see point 1 above).

3. Periodically or automatically, the full content of the database is exported (written) into XML files. The structure of these XML documents is predefined, but the content is adapted to reflect whatever has been changed or added to the database. These XML files are stored on a separate location (folder) on the server.

4. The XML files can be accessed through various technologies and software by other servers and institutions. These will therefore be able to integrate the database content in an XML format into their own layouts and modes of data processing.

5. These XML files may as well be applied to other media types, such as CD and DVD.

The advantage of this structure are, among others:

- Dynamic and decentralized management of database-content and structure
- Accessibility of data by other technologies and servers
- Possible ulterior integration of new data handling modes and technologies that make use of SQL type databases and XML.
- Simple “one-step” updates of data
- Simple management of XML content
- Dynamic web-content with search, sort and re-combination possibilities