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  1. #1
    SitePoint Zealot
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    Linking databases to mobile devices??

    HI All

    I want to design an environmental database containing up to date information on pollution, environmental laws, issues and the like. The database will be accessable to the public (think website) to provide such information. It is also hoped that in the future the data will be able to be accessed via mobile phones and other such mobile devices (think devices other than desktop computers).

    With this in mind, what is the best way of designing the database and website to facilited this grand plan. Is there a particular database or webserver software that would be particularly suited to this? I thought the new .NET framework was build with this kind of thing in mind, is that correct? Are there any non-microsoft alternatives that would do the same thing? I am looking for a good compromise between ease of intergration (given the requirements about) and price.

    I have no idea about any of this, so I would appreciate any links or personal experience.

    Regards, ben
    Experience is that thing which lets you know you've made the same mistake yet again.

  2. #2
    SitePoint Wizard Rick's Avatar
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    I'm not 100% on what specific database engine to use, but your pretty much correct in what you say about .net

    Microsoft does seem to be going mad with releasing products for mobile devices, I am on the Microsoft Homepage at the moment looking at the news sections and there are numerous links to a version of Windows for smart phone up there.

    Have a look at: http://www.microsoft.com/net/basics/whatis.asp the nice diagram shows how .net can be used to work with various different platforms based on XML.

    You should remember that .net is a Microsoft technology, and if you base whatever system your developing around it you are going to limit yourself to who can use the system - i.e. .net compatible browsers and also what technologies you can use to power your system, again .net compatible servers.

    Another option would be to combine XML with a server side scripting language such as PHP or ASP. You could get content from the database using PHP and insert it into your XML document (RSS feed, XML document etc etc).

    This solution may seem like going round the houses if you only going to deliver content into a HTML page for IE 5.5 but using a system like this would then provide you with the scope to manipulate the way the data is presented for a wide variety of devices, you could chose to display XML data to browsers using XML Data Islands, and provide a WML system for WAP users to access from their mobile phones, all using the same XML feed.

    I prefer to use open source solutions, but .net is certainly a very powerful framework. You could use either, but you may open up your services to more people by using the non-proprietary solution.

    There are people here far better qualified to talk about .net than I am, so I'll leave it to them, but XML can be a very powerful system if its used in the correct way.

    There are, of course, other solutions both open source and proprietary you could look into - I don't know enough about them to comment on them here accurately though.

    Hope this is of at least some help to you - for what its worth I'd go and chat to someone who knows alot about .net and someone who is an expert with XML and see what they say.

    Good luck with your project
    Rick
    Rick


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