|Author : DAOUDI Samir | Context : MSc Software Engineering – Internet Programming|
The web solutions have changed from the old classic web sites with static pages linked toghether. Nowadays, solutions are more complex, more efficient and dynamic able to provide users some really enhenced features like :
– Last updated information.
– Rich interactivity and interface.
– Ecommerce possibilities.
– Updates made easier.
– Powerful scripts as Contact, Survey, Newsletters …etc.
All these features and others have been made possible thank to the improvement of development technologies. Most important and powerful web development languages as PHP and ASP.Net allow the integration of the code with backend databases, which play an important role in these solutions.
We can different scenarios of use for databases, but the most important ones can be:
– Storing products catalogue.
– Storing users’ and customers’ informations.
– Orders data.
– Information about services’ status (busses’ or flights’ times)…etc.
It is clear that the role played by databases in such web system is crucial and are in general used for medium or large amount of data. For specific needs, companies might require another special type of databases known as Datawarehouses. So what are Datawarehouses?
A datawarehouse is a repository of specific data which are usually used for statistical, analytical or complex queries. Datawarehouses are very suitable at the DSS (Decision Support System) centre. It might contain historical data (in both summarized and detailled forms) (Prabhu, 2006). Datawarehouses are essential for effective business intelligence and business strategy and implentation if an environment where larger amount of data (doubling approx each 18 month) are required to be processed faster.
Mohanty described datawarehouse as powerful database model which enhence the analyze and treatment of large multidimensional data (Mohanty, 2006).
For long time the datawarehouses where securely kept in date centres of companies and hosted in very powerful server; However, the emergence of internet and connectivity capabilities allowed some important enhencements as :
– Facilitating the administrativ tasks of managing distributed environments.
– Possibility to store and manage data and applications that can be easily and centrally managed.
– The third generation of web servers provide all the features of existing decision-support applications without overloading clients with applications except a browser.
Vendors of decision-support applications especially query reporting and OLAP (Online Analytical Processing) have quickly converted their tools to work online including the following features:
-HTML publishing : publishing the query results to HTML pages.
– Plugins : A browser-specific components that can be downloaded from the web server and hence, easily manageable and upgradable
– Java and ActiveX applications: Vendors can redevelop some part of the tool in Java or ActiveX, except the fact that it results in a thin client, but it seems to be one of the promising and flexible methods (Prabhu, 2006).
A list of top 10 reasons why companies should webify their legacy data has been summarized in the following :
10. Browsers are universal – they look the same for intranets, extranets or the Web.
9. Internet access is cheaper and easier than remote dial up.
8. Those Mac fanatics in advertising can keep their smiley-faced machines.
7. Desktop operating systems don’t usually provide 3270 or 5250 clients, but they do have a IP stacks (the first battle in the legacy link war).
6. You can dump those proprietary client/server apps that were supposed to save the world.
5. Web-to-host integration has lots of security options; you can ID’em at the Web page and at the database gateway, and encrypt everything for transmissions besides.
4. Your business partners are clamoring for a Web-based peek at order status or other electronic
3. Your competitors already offer their business partners Web access to order status.
2. It’s a way to make those twenty-something Web wizards acknowledge the mainframe’s contribution.
1. It’s not just the latest buzz, it’s a trend (Nemati, 2006).
“By surfacing decision support data within a web-based application, users are able to easily view and act on information that can move their organization forward and maintain the competitive advantage necessary in today’s market place.” (Davis, nd).
– C.S.R. Prabhu (2006). Data Warehousing 2nd edition: Concepts, Techniques, Products and Applications. ISBN: 81-203-2068-9.
– Sumendra Mohanty (2006). Data Warehousing: design, development and best practices. ISBN: 978-0-07-063544-9.
– Jim Davis (n.d). Data Warehousing and the Web. SAS Institute Inc, available online at:http://www2.sas.com/proceedings/sugi23/Dataware/p100.pdf
– Hamid R. Nemati, Sherrie Cannoy & Robert Delk (2009). Data Warehousing and Web Enablement: Opportunities, Issues, and Trends. Available online at : http://www.uncg.edu/ism/ism611/webdw.pdf