Introduction to Databases for the Web: Pt 4


To tell you the truth, if I were to
recommend a backend architecture for a web-based database
interface, I would probably recommend the
CGI architecture we just discussed.

In my opinion and experience, CGI is
still the most stable, cross-platform, easy to maintain
method for managing such a mission critical
application. Alternative technologies like CORBA,
Java, Active-X, and Cold Fusion are too difficult, too
proprietary, or too buggy.

Nevertheless, no discussion of Web
Databases would be complete without a discussion of JDBC.

What is JDBC

JDBC is Java’s version of the DBI module in
Perl 5. It provides a standard interface between you
and the database server.

As with DBI, JDBC provides a standard
API which you can use regardless of what Database is being used
in the backend. Also, just as DBI is supported by a host of DBD
(Database Dependent) modules to connect DBI to the multitude of
proprietary systems, JDBC is supported by a large set of
JDBC drivers.

[JDBC Architecture]
Click for full size image

Fortunately, as in the case of DBI,
the JDBC interface and most of the JDBC drivers you will need
are installed by default so you already have them if you
have installed the JDK. Drivers that are not installed
by default can be downloaded by going to

This tutorial assumes that you are already
familiar with Java programming. If you are not, you may want to
read Intro
to Web Programming

Limitations of JDBC

Of course, if you have been keeping up with
the news, you will know that Java is still somewhat buggy and
slow. However, the language promises to be with us as a
basic tool for many years to come.

And though it still is a bit
painful to use Java in an internet setting in which one cannot
control the browsers, operating systems, or hardware specs of
the users, it can still be worthwhile for you to learn and
play with it.

At very least, JDBC is extremely useful
for server-side application development in which you can control
the environment to a much greater degree.

So to conclude this tutorial on web databases,
we will take a walk through JDBC technology and present an actual
Java GUI that uses JDBC to connect to the datasource we
installed for the CGI section.

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