This chapter has dealt with a relatively new field in the web development process?the move from content that is fixed in place to content that is constantly changing. With this shift has come a different focus on how web developers regard a web page. No longer is it a collection of images, text links, and the other bits and pieces that comprise the web page. All that content is now, thanks to the increasing use of databases, regarded as data.
We started the chapter by explaining how to plan data and presented a number of tips to get you started. The bottom line is: "Think like a computer."
When you start thinking like a computer, you confront logic, and we explained the difference between planning the "logic" and planning the "data."
One method we presented was the development of a "data dictionary" to help determine the data model and the fields required. A sample is available on the book's web site.
From there, we showed how the "dictionary" can be made even more realistic through the creation of a model, called a "schema." We showed you how to create a schema in Freehand and how to use the new Connector tool in Freehand MX to show the relationships between the various database tables.
Having determined the dictionary and the schema, we showed how to map the logic of the various dynamic elements in the site through the creation of a logic map, using four very basic symbols that can reside in either a Freehand or Fireworks library.
We then turned our attention to the project we will be undertaking for the balance of the book, the creation of a dynamic site for the Oakbridge Community Center. We thoroughly reviewed the tour, booking facility, and community outreach features of the site. Close attention was paid to both the objective and logic flow of each feature using logic charts that could be developed in either Freehand or Fireworks.
We finished the chapter with an overview of the tools to be used to create the site, the data types that will be used, how the data will look, and how it all will be managed.
The underlying message of this entire chapter is that the best way of coping with complexity is from a position of simplicity. Unfortunately, most people new to the dynamic game go in the opposite direction.
With the data and logic under control, it is time to start feeding the client some ideas and concepts. That is the focus of the next chapter.