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Web Techniques: Data-Drive Sites with Midgard

Apr 30, 2000, 14:40 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Brian Jepson)

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"No matter how our industry tries to streamline the process, our designers and programmers still edit the same piece of code (often without version control). Middleware application servers such as Domino and ColdFusion initially appeared to solve this problem. Recently, some Open Source software has emerged that also tries to separate content from presentation. Of these, Zope ( and Midgard ( are the most well known. Zope is written in Python, and you can use Python to customize existing components, as well as develop your own. Zope is an amazing tool, and I encourage you to check it out. I'll focus on Midgard, which can dynamically generate your Web site from a database."

"Midgard consists of some Apache modules (including a custom version of PHP3) that make up the Midgard server. PHP3 is one of the most popular scripting languages for the Web, and is deeply integrated into Midgard. Midgard lets you define a presentation format for data that is separate from the data itself. The use of an article/topic metaphor lets content developers avoid SQL and other database details."

"How does Midgard work? One of the Midgard modules acts as a filter in front of all page requests. If it notices that a request comes in for a Midgard-managed page, it gives control over to the Midgard system, and the system dynamically generates the page. Midgard is fully database driven. At the time that I'm writing this, Midgard uses the MySQL database server. The next version of Midgard promises ODBC support, which opens it up to a wide range of databases, such as PostgreSQL, Oracle, Sybase, and many others."

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