The Need for Information Architecture - HTML

The next step in creating a plan for your Web site is to determine its architecture. This includes determining what kind of environment your Web site will live in. You have many kinds of server environments to choose from.Your choice will be based on a combination of factors, not the least of which includes where your expertise lies. If your strong suit is Active Server Pages (ASP) programming, you might want to avoid Java environments, and vice-versa. Of course, if you obtain a job on a Web site, you won’t be making that decision unless you’re running the whole show. There are two broad categories of Web server environments: vendor-based and open source. It’s normal to assume that the phrase “vendor-based Web development environments” means Microsoft, however, other software vendors also create Web development and Web server environments. The three major Web server software vendors follow:

  • Apache, the leading Web server software worldwide, is from the Apache Software Foundation, and is an open source project. Open source means that the code base that runs the software is free (based on certain limitations). Because anyone can afford free, and the software itself is extremely good, it has captured nearly 70% of the Web server market, according to Apache is a good choice if you’re running Java-based software on your Web server.
  • Sun. If you have a Sun Microsystems system running Solaris, which is a UNIX-based operating system that runs Sun servers, you may want to consider using Sun’s SunONE Web server. This Java-based Web server plays well with other Sun-based products. It only holds about a 3.5% market share, which is a steep drop from its heydays of the mid- to late-1990s. However, the most recent version of SunONE is very powerful and includes a browser-based console, which provides a GUI interface for configuring, managing, and monitoring the Web server. Security is also good, as port access is denied by default. This means access rights must be specifically granted, so you don’t need to search for potential security holes.
  • Microsoft holds about 25% of the share of the Web server market. It can be significantly easier to use Microsoft products, but the security issues are generally more difficult to deal with. Microsoft servers tend to be easier to compromise than Apache servers. Microsoft’s Web server is called Information Services 5.0 or 6.0 (IIS 5.0 or IIS 6.0), depending on the version you are running.

Generally, if you want to run a Java-based architecture or PHP, you should probably run an Apache server. If you run ASP or .NET, you should run a Microsoft server. However, you can run Java-based software using Microsoft-based products, and you can also run Apache on Windows products (since Apache ports its software to multiple operating systems). If you want to run static HTML pages, pick the operating environment you’re most comfortable with.

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