Database-served Web Pages
There are various reasons for serving the content of your documentation
from a database. For example, you may have some content that should
only be accessible to some of your users. You could handle this
content with a conditionalization tag library, but you could also
handle it by using a database system's built-in access restrictions.
Handling this particular issue with a database may make it easier
to make a particular topic more or less restrictive.
You may also work in a collaborative environment with other writers.
In fact, you may already have a database system set up to handle
content management, and would like to deliver your documentation
from within that existing database system. If you have access to
the database schema, you may be able to save yourself a step if
you don't have to export your content to update your documentation.
I have created a version of this particular page that is served
from a MySQL database, to enable you to play with this
feature to see how you can use a database to restrict users to content
to which they have appropriate access level to view. In this database-served
version of this page, I have added each sentence as a database record.
I have also enabled you to choose a color for each sentence, which
you might want to use to indicate to your user that the color-coded
sentence is privileged information.
The following is the database schema for the table that stores
the content shown on this page.
userName20-character string that stores a username
that you specify. When you move from this static page into the demo,
a copy of the master table is copied, and the userName is set to
the user name you specify. This allows more than one visitor to
this web site to modify the content at the same time, without affecting
the other visitors.
pageName50-character string that stores the name of
the page and some or all of its path.
paragraphNumAn integer that indicates which paragraph
the sentence belongs to.
sentenceNumAn integer that indicates the sentences
location within a paragraph.
sentenceA string that holds the content of the sentence.
accessLevelAn integer between 1 and 5, where 1 indicates
no restriction on the content, and 5 is the most restrictive.
displayColorA boolean value that indicates if the
sentence should be displayed in color. When set to false, the sentence
will be displayed in the default color. When set to true, the sentence
will be displayed in color depending on its accessLevel value: 1
= brown, 2 = purple, 3 = green, 4 = blue, and 5 = red.
Files Used for this Functionality
For you to modify the database records that make up this demo,
I needed to add a couple of extra ancillary web pages. The following
is a complete list of files that I implemented for this demo:
dbs_live.jspThis is the version
of this page that is served from a database.
pages let you specify the accessLevel and displayColor attributes
for individual sentences that make up this page.
dbs_login.jspThis page lets you
set the access level of the viewer, before viewing the page databaseservedpages_live.jsp.
You can return to this page to move the access level up or down
_dbs_login.jspThis is a page that
actually records the access level you specified on the main login
Note that only the file dbs_live.jsp
is served from a database (though others do interact with the database).
Click any of the following links to display the source for the
Now that you have had a chance to see the database schema for the
database-served page, the pages that you will visit to modify the
database content, and the JSP source for those pages, you can start
playing around with the feature. The first step is to modify