Database-driven web sites

What is a database-driven web site and why would I want one?

Instead of many, many pages of HTML code which need to be designed and created - and then maintained whenever you want to make changes, a database-driven web site relies on using special page 'templates' which draw data stored in a database on your web hosting server to 'create' the pages sent to your web site's visitors.

Using this design technique separates the data - your site's page content - from all of the html and other code that is needed for your pages to display.

Benefits of a database-driven web site

Once the structure of each page is separated from the content of each page, two major benefits arise. Firstly, modifying the look and feel of your web site becomes a matter of editing the structural elements that apply to every page of the site. Secondly - and this is the principal advantage of a 'data driven' web site - is that the site owner can add, edit, or delete content without any need to understand HTML, javascript, CSS, server scripting, etc.

Real examples of database sites

Two prime examples of database-driven web sites that we developed are and - both sites which can be visited directly from our portfolio pages. The site owners successfully manage, edit, and extend the content available to visitors to both of those web sites using simple cut and paste and a web browser, through a password-protected administration page. These site owners pay nothing for professional maintenance of their web sites, since they can do it themselves in minutes as often as they want.

And the cost?

It takes more skill (and time) to develop a web site designed to be maintained by the site owner, so the initial cost is higher than a conventional, static content, web site. However, if you need to pay someone for changes every time you make them, then the real cost of owning and operating your web site will be lower!

Not convinced yet?

While it's easy for us to tell you how simple it is to use one of our database-driven sites, we'll let what one halfadot client said about the database updating on her site:

I also love the easy-to-use administrator page you created, allowing me to upload new content and images with the click of a button

Perhaps a small example might better convince you. Let's imagine you run a small business selling widgets, and you have a 'special of the month' feature. What you want to do is to simply enter some information in a form, and have every page of your web site automatically update itself with the latest information.

So, instead of paying someone every month to edit every page of your web site so it displays the new 'special', you can do it yourself in minutes for free!

We've built a small example site that allows exactly that functionality to demonstrate what we mean by 'easy' - and you can test it out now, right here.