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December 4, 1997


Building, managing and maintaining Web sites

R Vijay Shankar at Hotel Taj Palace

The last topic on the first day of the 'Net Track' session at the twin seminars here discussed Web sites.

Microsoft India Director Meena Ganesh, business consultant to Sun Microsystems Amit Chopra and Silicon Graphics' A Rajendra were the speakers.
Q&A: Sanjay Kumar
Jon DeVaan's keynote
The Net infrastructure
Q&A: Dr D Packard
PCs or NCs?
Sites and servers
The localisation issue

Meena Ganesh

Ganesh, who is in charge of the Internet Strategic Business Unit and Application Development Division, spoke on the lifecycle management of Web sites.

Traditionally, the Web site has been a tool for information publishing. Ganesh spoke of the changes in technology, which have now rendered Web sites as critical in terms of integrating information with business processing.

"No more is the Web site a mere business brochure. Yesterday, it was a matter of enriching contents on the Web site without high IT infrastructure. But today," says Ganesh, "it is important for the information on the Web site to be useful to partners in business as well as the employees."

The technology directions in the management of Web servers, according to Ganesh, now consider aspects such as personalising and enhancing content. Replication of content, worldwide, or at least within a region, would be crucial. A 'staging server' would take care of upgrading content and design before replicating. A higher degree of management and skills to route a user to the appropriate Web sites is called for, Ganesh said.

The administration of Web sites requires development of tools to publish, replicate, enable usage analysis and retiring information no longer relevant.

The actual content management is, of course, of essence, she warned. A critical factor Ganesh cites, is the establishment of a 'user ID' which will enable the system to respond in a personal way to the client as his specific preferences have been noted through the ID.

Electronic commerce through a Web site is, however, a complicated business, Ganesh said. A shop-front needs to be created first, she explained.

Amit Chopra

Chopra breezed through the essential steps for establishing a successful Web site. Emphasising that moving the business on the Web would reduce overhead costs and create market opportunities through improved customer satisfaction, Chopra detailed the process of setting up a Web site.

He further advanced the use of Java as a great solution for development, which eliminates ports and slashes distribution costs.

Among the important issues to be tackled in Web server management, according to Chopra, are the establishment of security measures and understanding of legal issues involved.

A Rajendra

Rajendra discussed the support activity for setting up Web sites and analysed the pros and cons of creating Web sites on servers owned by the producer or on servers managed by others.

It is important to ensure scalability or expansion in case the number of users goes up, he warned.

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