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Re: Sybase <-> WWW Interface



Ariel writes:

>First let me humbly ask if there is a FAQ for this group. In the four
>months or so that I have lurked here I have heard no mention of one.

I can't answer this, I haven't seen one either in the few months I've been on.

>I have been asked to look into the possibility of interfacing our Sybase
>database to the WWW. From what I can gather the generally accepted way of
>doing this is using sybperl to creat CGI scripts.  WDB is a suit of such
>scripts ready for use.

Thanks.  I haven't heard of WDB, I'll check into it.

>Are there other methods of doing this job?  Better | Worse? Why?
>Are application development tools available?

My office is using Web/Genera as a tool for accessing Sybase DBMS from WWW.  Genera is a suit of sybperl CGIs (actually very few) that make read-only access very easy.  A beta version that provides write capability is still being developed by Dr. Letovsky at Yale (the original developer).  I don't have Genera's URL with me now. 

I really like the way Genera is implemented.  Basically, you write "schemas" using an easy high-level description language to describe the input forms and output format, then the CGIs access the DBMS as any other user would to retrieve the data.  Another CGI formats the data into HTML and the result is a web page of the returned data, along with any links to other objects specified in the schema.

Returning links to other objects in the database provides an easy way to "browse" the database once the initial data is returned.  It also allows your database to link to external data across the web as long as the URLs are stored in the database.  

A disadvantage of Genera is that it can't return a unique record from a table that has a multiple field primary key.   

>Our Sybase DB is not on the same server as our web server. Is this an issue?

No.  In the configuration of the Genera scripts, you set up Genera as a regular user, meaning once you have the interfaces file setup, etc, it can access any (or multiple) remote database servers.

>What are the security concerns?

When using Genera, anyone who uses the query page built by a specific schema will have the same userid to access the database.  Permissions can be set within the database as with any other user.  A single userid may not be a concern as long as the database user has read-only privileges.

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I'm surprised I haven't heard more about Genera from the group.  Does anyone else have any inputs?  Like I said, Dr. Stan Letovsky developed the CGIs originally and plans on building in write capability soon.  Does anyone know about current products designed to be used for writing to Sybase or Oracle databases via the web?


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