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Questions: Questions to ask when comparing web solutions

  • How easy is it to get started? Do you have to develop the cgi/isapi interface yourself? Is "save-state" built in? Are demos with source included?

    WebHub includes runners for ISAPI, cgi-bin, and cgi-win so that you do not have to develop that interface yourself. Furthermore the architecture builds in an easy-to-use mechanism for tracking the surfer via the URL, and saving his/her data on a TWebSession object on the server-side. Over a dozen demos are included, with full source.
  • Does the solution empower you to re-use your existing code (Delphi, C++, SQL, HTML, CSS) and skills?
    WebHub helps you web-enable existing Delphi and C++ applications. Even your HTML and Javascript code can be re-used. WebHub projects can easily be worked on by a team of people with varying skill levels.
  • How fast is a single page generated? How many pages per second can the architecture support?

    Fully dynamic WebHub pages take 8 to 50 milliseconds to produce on current hardware, using ISAPI. A dual-processor P200 box with 128 meg RAM can do 36 page requests per second using just a single EXE.
  • How flexible is it? Are you limited to boilerplate database applications or can you bring in OLE, DCOM,etc? Are you locked into a single web interface or web server? Can you maintain your web application remotely? Can you build your own objects with their own custom behavior?

    WebHub expects you to want to write custom features. The "web action" class provides for that, giving programmers the ability to activate any functionality from the web. WebHub runs on all major Windows web servers and you can change servers without recompiling your apps. You can maintain your web applications remotely, and you can build your own "web action" components. You can use the debugger to work on your EXE (no need to fight DLLs), and you can stop/replace/restart your application without bringing down the web server.
  • What are the hidden costs? Is the HTML embedded in the program code, or vice versa, necessitating a high skill level to change either one? Are you forced to obtain unlimited SQL licenses? Is the cost of scaling to additional machines clear?

    WebHub sites are extremely easy to maintain. The HTML and Javascript is kept outside the Delphi/C++ project, so that it can be maintained by a page layout specialist without even requiring recompilation of the application. Using WebHub, you can control how many database connections you want to have open, and thus use a limited SQL license. The cost of scaling to additional boxes is a matter of software configuration and obtaining a hub license for each additional box.
  • How exactly is the system scalable? What happens in a high traffic situation? Is there protection for your system resources or will the whole thing overload?

    WebHub scales in two ways. (a) On a single machine, run multiple instances of your EXE to support higher traffic. (b) Using a cluster of machines, have requests from new surfers sent around the cluster providing linear scalability. The Hub serves as process controller on each machine, and ensures that surfers are routed to the least-busy EXE on the machine, and to the next available machine in the cluster. The runners are configured to time-out after N seconds if all EXEs are too busy.
  • What security features are included? If security is based on cookies alone, how will you deal with people who don't accept them? If security is based on codes on the URL, how will you deal with people bookmarking URLs beyond the "front door" and coming back later? If security is based on IP#, how will you deal with surfers on AOL who may receive a new IP# between page requests? Is a knowledge of NT security required in order to protect the web site? Can you do more than just enforce NT security?

    WebHub has features that address all of these issues, without relying solely on cookies or IP#. User login/password checks are not limited to NT security rules; you can validate people against an in-house user or "membership" database.
  • What technical support resources are available? If you buy-in to the technology, will you be alone? What other developers are using it? How responsive is the company to changing trends in the industry? Are there high-end sites that have solved problems similar to yours? Are there training seminars?

    There is an active WebHub community that participates in free discussions by e-mail. There is a full-time technical support department available for private questions and consultation. There is an on-line technical support knowledgebase which is searchable via the web. HREF Tools Corp. is highly responsive to trends. In-line releases with new features are made available to customers by download at no extra charge. The WebHub portfolio contains sites built in a wide variety of industries.
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