Learn about an adaptable approach which separates programming tasks from Web page design tasks. This strong conceptual model encourages good design, enables re-use of data definitions, and is well-suited to the construction of dynamic user interfaces. The authors also illustrate the particular challenges you might encounter when you dynamically change the analysis performed by Web pages. (This intermediate-level article was first published by IBM developerWorks, August 5, 2004, at http://www.ibm.com/developerWorks).
The design approach of combining a simple but flexible OLAP-like data model with a custom JSP tag library implementation provides an architecture with many benefits which is well-suited for Web applications that need to support dynamic analysis of data. A particular strength of the approach is that it not only provides a good structural basis for implementation but also encourages good up-front design. Finally, it can be readily replicated and adapted to a variety of situations because it is based on standard J2EE technologies.
* For more information on the misconceptions about information architecture, read "Information architecture concepts" (developerWorks, July 2002). The article also addresses the role an information architect plays in Web site development.
* Develop and test your Web applications using the latest IBM® tools and middleware with a developerWorks Subscription: You get IBM software from WebSphere®, DB2®, Lotus®, Rational®, and Tivoli®, and a license to use the software for 12 months, all for less money than you might think.
About the authors
Simon Moore joined IBM in 1986 as a software developer, working on the Personal AS product at the Application System International Centre in Warwick, England. During the next eight years, he worked on the development of various pieces of business intelligence related software and specialized in UI development. In 1994, one of these products moved to the Santa Teresa laboratory in California, and Simon went with it on a three-year assignment. During this time, he worked on the development of various products related to the IBM DB2 relational database, including Visualizer, Intelligent Decision Server, and DB2 OLAP server. In 1998, Simon returned to the United Kingdom, and he now works in the Ease of Use department.
Dave Clark first worked for IBM as a pre-university employee in 1988, and returned on several occasions for vacation employment before joining the company permanently in 1992 as a software developer specialising in UI technologies and design, working on the Visualizer product range at the Warwick Software Development Laboratory in the United Kingdom. Since 1995, he has worked in the Ease of Use department supporting the mission of Vice President, Tony Temple. Dave has worked with Java since its inception, and on Web technologies for several years. He has also developed Web applications for Java 2 Enterprise Edition (J2EE) deployed on IBM WebSphere Application Server both within IBM internally and on the Internet.
Photo of Andy SmithAndy Smith joined IBM in 1977 as an operator working with the Call 360 timeshare service. After five years as an operator, systems programmer, and product support analyst, he moved to Warwick, England to join the Application System International Centre. This centre was responsible for the development and support of Application System, a mainframe business intelligence product. Andy worked on a complementary PC product called Personal AS, later renamed to Visualizer. Specifically, he worked on business graphics before becoming one of the overall product architects. When this function was moved to Santa Teresa Lab in 1994, Andy remained in Warwick in what has evolved into the Ease of Use department. He has produced several software components that have been incorporated into IBM products or made available via alphaWorks. His recent work includes an internal project that presents disparate data using a Web application, allowing users to dynamically configure the analyses. This article is informed by that project.