2.7b Dynamic content
What is dynamic content?
In contrast to static content, dynamic content is generated every time a user visits or reloads the Web page. A dynamic page is typically compiled from content that is stored in a database.
Dynamic pages commonly use programs (e.g. Java) or scripts (e.g. JSP, ASP, PHP) or transformation languages (e.g. XSL) or a combination of these plus query languages (e.g. SQL, XQuery).
The URL of dynamically generated Web pages can contain question marks, percentage signs and other symbols (or text) from the query string. Visitors may be intimidated by such long and cryptic URLs containing few recognizable words. Using more recent techniques, however, dynamic URLs can be transformed into a more readable form.
Some Web sites contain entirely dynamic content, because all of their content is stored in a database and assembled when the page is requested. Dynamic content usually involves a CMS. These are intended to reduce site maintenance by allowing users to enter content through an easy to use web-interface. When the content is retrieved, it is merged with a template that provides elements that are common to the whole site (menus, logos, etc) or subsections of the site and includes components that control the style of presentation for the user-entered data.
Some examples of dynamic sites are:
Do you know about... Hybrid sites?
The majority of Web sites at FAO are hybrid sites. That is, they are a combination of static and dynamic content. FAO has developed several systems that allow static Web sites to have dynamic areas. One example of such a system is the News and Events Management System (NEMS). NEMS allows users without HTML knowledge to post news and events stories on a Web site. Another example is the Electronic Information Management Services (EIMS), which adds publications automatically to Web sites once they have been published in the CDR.
Some examples of hybrid Web sites are:
Things to remember when considering a dynamic site
Sometimes it is difficult to differentiate between dynamic content and a site managed through a CMS, but with static content. The main difference between them is not how content is managed, but rather the form in which it is published.
Dynamic sites not managed by a CMS, usually require large amounts of technical and programming work and therefore have a higher cost for development/maintenance (changes, enhancements, upgrades etc.).
To minimize the costs of a dynamic site, use a CMS, although costs can increase if you require major changes to existing templates.
CMSs effectively manage large amounts of information and can present it in various ways.