A Glimpse of the Future

You're nearing the end of Lesson 1, and it may seem that you haven't done a lot. You haven't changed a single line of code in a single file.

But you have done more than you realize, and you have worked through a step that is too often shortchangedwith disastrous consequences. You've conducted a thorough assessment of the site, including code, business processes, and (indirectly) usability. You have a clear idea about what you need to do. For convenience, here is a summary of the site upgrade project goals:

  • Upgrade HTML code to XHTML

  • Improve site accessibility and usability

  • Store structured and/or frequently updated content in a database

  • Provide search and/or filtering mechanisms to enable users to find tours and country profiles more easily

  • Develop a Web form that enables users to contact Newland Tours staff, without having to use email

  • Develop a series of Web forms that enable Newland Tours staff to add, update, and delete content stored in the database (remember that the content stored in the database is also the source material that appears on the Web site)

If some of this sounds a bit abstract, look at the final version of the site as it will appear at the end of the book.

  1. Point your browser to http://www.allectomedia.com/newland_dynamic/.

    The index page should look almost the same as the version you just opened in Dreamweaver. However, it is quite different behind the scenes. For example, the Traveler's Journal column is actually retrieved and formatted on the fly from a database. In addition, the text is formatted more nicely on this version of the page.

    graphics/01fig16.jpg

  2. Click the Find Tours link in the navigation bar on the left side.

    Instead of seeing the Find Tours page, as you expected, you are interrupted with a log-in screen. The previous site obviously had no such functionality. This was added because the client wanted users to register before accessing the site so the client has a way of learning about customers, as well as contacting them with offers and promotions. You can log in using the following credentials:

    Email address: osiris@allectomedia.com

    Password: osiris

    NOTE

    This is a fictional account created for the purpose of giving readers access to the site without having to register. There is no such account, so please don't send email to it.

    graphics/01fig17.gif

    Once you authenticate, you are sent to the page you requested earlier.

  3. Explore the site as much as you like.

    At this point, I'll turn you loose and let you explore on your own. You will see that the site offers several methods of filtering content, linking to related content (from tours to country profile, for example), and even a price calculator utility.

    graphics/01fig18.gif

    You'll notice that the Admin section is off-limits to the osiris@allectomedia.com account. That section enables users to change the content of the database, and hence much of the site. Obviously, I can't publish that in a book! As you'll see later, what's inside is the content management systemthat is, the Web forms that enable Newland Tours staff to update site content.

    The screenshot on the next page shows one of these forms. Using this form, the staff can create a new Traveler's Journal entry just by filling out the form, following the directions that appear onscreen. As soon as the staff member clicks Submit, the database entry is added, and the staff member is redirected to the site's homepage, where she or he will discover that the Traveler's Journal has already been updated on the public Web site in the split second between the time the Submit button was clicked and the index page was loaded.

    graphics/01fig19.gif



     
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