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How to provide aggregated/integrated web-content ?

Posted on 2001-06-04
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Last Modified: 2013-12-25
Hi,
 this issue will have implications on the entire architecture of my web site, hence the high number of points.

I run a web site built using IIS 4.0 & ASP which provides accomadation reservation facilities. I want to be able to package the ability of my site so that other web sites can provide this reservation ability from their own pages and allow them to control the look and feel.

So I want it to provide an 'interface' via a set of scripts which would function something like the following:

GetHotels script: returns a list of hotels along with their phone number, address details, etc.

GetAvailabiltyAtHotel: this script returns the list of available rooms, which match the supplied critera

MakeReservation: This script makes a reservation at the specified hotel using the details supplied to the script.

So, the web site which calls these scripts get the 'raw data' back and they can control the presentation of the data.

I know that I can do this by having each script reply in Javascript and the caller can use the contents of the Javascript reply i.e

<SCRIPT src="www.acme.com/GetHotels.asp?location=Boston"

.
.

// The list of hotels is returned from the above
// GetHotels script in an array called hotels with the
// following fields
//
// hotels.[0].name,
// hotels.[0].address,
// hotels.[0].tel,
// hotels.[0].fax,

// Now use the contents of the hotels array to write
// the page content.

So, thanks for reading the problem as far as this :-) I want to know if the only way to do this is to use JavaScript. ( I assume I *can* do it using JS) My solution needs to platform-independent and as browser-neutral as possible. I could provide people with the hooks into my ASP layer (i.e directly call my API methods), but that wouldn't allow non-ASP web sites to use my service. I also want to allow each user of the service to be in control of the presentation and maintenance of their own pages, on their own sites.

All suggestions appreciated.

TIA,
aidan,
Australia.
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Question by:aidanq
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11 Comments
 
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Accepted Solution

by:
kneea earned 300 total points
ID: 6157746
have a look at bedandbreakfast.com

They serve all the pages and set up an account.

aol.bedandbreakfast.com
excite.bedandbreakfast.com

The server picks up the site name from the url and adds the appropriate logo(s) links(s) and adverts(s).

you can also do it with

yourdomain.com/location/page.asp?website.com

You could collect the logo from website.com/hotel.gif
...and link it to website.com  no need to setup accounts.

This method also means that you won't fill search engines with multiple copies of pages.  You would submit your site which would use yourdomain.com/location/page.asp without the question mark and then the search engines would be happy to list it.
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Expert Comment

by:ZhongYu
ID: 6185409
Hi,

I do not know the exact working conditions you site have.  But generally, the interface using by client browser has its limitations. Server side communication based on som XML protocol is preferred.

With server site communication, you site provides services to other site. It is not possible that the client browser security configuration will stop the designed operations, whick otherwise would happen.

 





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Expert Comment

by:monas
ID: 6187237
aidang,

I will second ZhongYu. If you want to make less problems to people running other server - go XML way. You should adopt or design XML document schema, publish it, and guarantee that your data will be provided in XML documents compliant to that schema.

In this way - other servers will get data. They will be allowed to use whatever platform (asp/cgi/php/java/you name it). To extract data they  will be able to use also variety of ways - DOM, XSLT, in worst case - home grown parser.

So, go XML! Provide data, not problems.
0
 

Author Comment

by:aidanq
ID: 6193783

I have considered passing the data back as XML, but this puts a responsibility on the receiver to parse and interpret it. I want to provide a "zero-work" solution for the developer where they can get a listing of hotels or available rooms, very easily. JavaScript seems a universal way to od this across all browsers. Ultimately, I would also provide this ability as a set of Web Services, but only as Web Services become more widely used
0
 
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Expert Comment

by:monas
ID: 6194334
aidang,

There is no "zero-work" solution! In the less time consuming case
you should provide system for receivers, where they say what
should  the background/foreground , what logo to put on pages.
And all they will need to do will be put link to customised for them
site on your server.

But that way  you do not provide them THE DATA! So they have
NO OPTION to provide value added services based on your data,
integrate into their proprietary systems and so on.

So, there is no such thing as free lunch. Even I could see that
there could be market for customised site solutions, I understood
that you original request was for providing data.
0
IT, Stop Being Called Into Every Meeting

Highfive is so simple that setting up every meeting room takes just minutes and every employee will be able to start or join a call from any room with ease. Never be called into a meeting just to get it started again. This is how video conferencing should work!

 
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Expert Comment

by:mgfranz
ID: 6208658
My suggestion, package everything into a .dll!  the end user can even just call the .dll on your server if needed...
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Expert Comment

by:monas
ID: 6209218
mqfranz,

Don't you forget that over 50% of web servers in operation are
incapable to run windows .dll files. Just for the reason they do
not run MS windows?
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Expert Comment

by:mgfranz
ID: 6210350
RTFQ... "I run a web site built using IIS 4.0 & ASP..."
0
 

Author Comment

by:aidanq
ID: 6210406
this provided me with the most insight into how I might solve my problem. So it wasn't a direct solution but a pointer to one.
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LVL 3

Expert Comment

by:monas
ID: 6210437
mqfranz,

Very well. But why don't you read the sentence which is right
after the one you are quoting?

"I  wan t
      to be able to package the ability of my site so that __OTHER__
 web sites can provide this reservation ability
from their own pages and allow them to control the look and feel.
" [emphasize be me]

So, never take words out of context.
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Expert Comment

by:Moondancer
ID: 6325008
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