• United States

Dynamo Web publishing

Mar 10, 20033 mins
Access ControlEnterprise Applications

* Sun One Director Server

It is said that if your only tool is a hammer then every problem looks like a nail and often that’s true. A press relations manager’s job, after all, is to ensure the success of the product, whether it is used effectively or not. So I looked with a jaundiced eye at the e-mail that popped into my inbox touting Sun’s Sun One Directory Server as the engine to drive dynamic Web publishing. But Citigate-Cunningham’s Noel Hartzell is persistent and can be persuasive, so I did eventually take a look. And a surprise it was.

Dynamic Web publishing refers to the process of assembling a document from atomic segments when queried by a user. One example might be a slide show, which contains 25 slides selected from an inventory of two or three hundred based on a user’s preferences checked off on a form in a browser. Two major benefits are that the people creating the slides can update a single slide without affecting an entire slide show while the user sees only the information they are interested in and the most up to date information, at that.

Most dynamic Web publishing packages rely on the creators of the various atomic parts to be familiar with HTML structure as well as the relational database system that is used to store the dynamic parts. Structured Query Language (SQL) is then used to construct the dynamic document.

Of course, without dynamic publishing someone has to actually construct all possible documents including the requisite HTML coding. That was fine 10 years ago, but it’s not what modern enterprises should have.

What some bright person did was to realize that there was going to be an identity management package available to authenticate the user and that this package included a directory service, which is just another specialty database. This person also realized that XML was much more productive to work with than HTML and SQL – and not solely because most Lightweight Directory Access Protocol-enabled directory services already have an XML interface.

One further realization is that identity management directories are finely tuned for efficient reading whereas general-purpose SQL database systems are tuned for transactions (i.e., write operations). Some 99% of the activity of a dynamic Web publishing service are reads.

Put this all together and you’ve got a system that is easier to operate, more efficient to run and takes fewer resources than previous dynamic publishing services – that’s a real plus. Dynamic Web publishing may not replace electronic provisioning as the “killer app” for directories, because fewer organizations need a dynamic Web publishing service compared to e-provisioning, but it is an application you may want to take a closer look at. 

Go to for a detailed description of the system and judge its appropriateness to your situation.