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
- 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
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
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
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.