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databases: storing pages in / web front ends to



  I'm currently running a Web site based on a BSD/OS v2.0.1 platform,
possibly to be changed to Solaris.  The server software is Netscape's
Commerce Server, which seems to be fine.
  I'd like to be able to support access in multiple languages, keep
track of user preferences (using a login dialog to identify users),
etc.  At the moment this is implemented with some home-brewed Perl
scripts, which are decidedly flaky.
  My short-term aim (read: next month or so) is to identify some way
of putting Web pages into a database as objects, and having an object
server sitting inbetween our httpd and the database files.  Ideally
I'd have some way of ensuring (or at least checking) link integrity,
etc.  The appeal of this solution to me is that it is scaleable, and
in the long term I may have to manage thousands of Web pages, rather
than the few dozen I do at the moment.
  Another thing that I'd like to be able to do is implement a Web
front-end to a transaction-processing database - e.g. write a simple
script to get information from a form, tell the database it's a
payment, or a debit, and have the database do most of the work (then I
can get on with writing nice Web pages, and leave Perl more-or-less
alone...)  It seems to make sense to me to implement both database
systems on a common platform, or at least with a common interface.

  So, now to the questions:

0) Meta-question.  Am I asking the right questions?

1) Has someone done this already?  I don't want to be reinventing the
   wheel.  If there's a reasonably cost-effective solution out there,
   I'll use that.

2) Which database would you recommend?  I've come across a database
   from a company called JustLogic - does anyone have experience of
   using this for this sort of application?  I'm loth to spend a
   fortune on something as high-powered as Oracle if we can (for trial
   purposes) get away with something cheaper.  Anything we use needs
   to be `upward-compatible' though - does this limit me to SQL?
   Should I demand SQL anyway?

3) Is there a commercial all-in-one package that would do this -
   provide a database-like way of maintaining Web trees?  I've looked,
   and the only thing I could find was Adobe's SiteMill, which is
   Solaris only.  We won't be buying the Sun unless the BSD trial
   works out...

Thank you for any help - I'm very new to this, and would appreciate
any advice you can offer.

--
Robin Stephenson.      (send email with subject `send pgp key' for pgp key)


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