When a Web site is created using traditional Web authoring techniques, the contents of the pages within the sites remain fixed or “static” until revisions are made to their underlying HTML coding.
Likewise, the URLs for the pages remain unchanged until the pages are either moved to another location within the site or transferred to another site or server.
Today, however, static Web pages and URLs are becoming less common as content management systems are increasingly used to create and manage the content on many Web sites. Databases are integral components of content management systems and thud serve as the underlying foundation upon which “database-driven” sites are built.
In this new generation of Web sites, Web pages often simply serve as templates for displaying the results of database queries rather than functioning as storage areas for information. Google™, Yahoo!™, and countless other Web sites are constructed around this database-driven model.
Dynamic URLs represent another unique feature of database-driven Web sites. Each time a Web user types a query into a database-driven site, a new “dynamic URL” is generated. Dynamic URLs routinely include characters such as ?, &, $ , +, =, %, . cgi, and .cgi-bin (WebMediaBrands 2009a, 2009b).
For example, when the phrase “web evaluation” was searched on Yahoo!, the dynamic URL http://search.yahoo.com/search?p=%2B%22Web+evaluation%22&fr=yfp-t-151&toggle=1&cop=mss&ei=UTF-8 was generated for the search results page.
As the Yahoo example above demonstrates, dynamic URLs can be extremely long and unwieldy, especially if the URL needs to be cited in a paper or publica-tion. Moreover, the fact that a database supplies most of the information displayed on the pages within a database-driven site presents sundry evaluation challenges such as determining the frequency and extent of updates of the information provided.