21. hypertext, multimedia and the world-wide web

EXERCISE 21.11 [extra - not in book]

A web site designer has been asked to design a web-based hotel finder for Lancaster Tourist Board. Hotels are added to a database using an existing non-web interface, usually in batches at the end of the week. You do not need to consider this interface, but should consider the rate of update in your answer.

The first stage of the project will offer the users various fixed views of the hotels, by area, by price range etc. The user will choose a particular area or price band and will then see a screen as shown below.

The display has three areas (a) a heading (b) a list of hotels and (c) the details of one of the hotels. As the user selects different hotels in (b) the details in (c) are updated to reflect the chosen hotel.

Stage two will allow the user to specify queries based on criteria like price, facilities etc. and obtain similar custom search result screens.

Discuss the different architectural choices suitable for implementing this over the web. Distinguish those options that would be suitable for the first stage only and those that would be suitable for both. Include discussion of client/server side processing options for interactive elements.

answer available for tutors only

Some students may talk in terms of particular technologies (CGI etc.), others in more general terms (server-side processing). I'm interested in the overall architecture client/server trade-off, so either approach is acceptable.

  • They ought to take into account the slow rate of update here. For fixed view, periodically generating pages offline from a database would be a sensible approach and then using standard web server.
  • The hotel details could managed by web transaction as each hotel is clicked, or could use client side (Java or JavaScript) - I'm looking for mention of different rate of feedback for the user.
  • In stage 2 more dynamic database access is required, not because of the rate of update, which is still the same, but because of the more complex queries.
  • Students may use pictures like figure 21.14 and the better students may draw parallels with the Seeheim model.

Other exercises in this chapter

ex.21.1 (ans), ex.21.2 (ans), ex.21.3 (ans), ex.21.4 (ans), ex.21.5 (tut), ex.21.6 (open), ex.21.7 (tut), ex.21.8 (open), ex.21.9 (open), ex.21.10 (open), ex.21.11 (tut), ex.21.12 (tut)

all exercises for this chapter