Whitebeam - Database Templates using PostgeSQL.

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Whitebeam - Database Templates using PostgeSQL.


The Whitebeam architecture provides all of the building blocks you need to build sophisticated e-commerce web applications. A number of these are built around reliable database technology. Those templates that require the facilities of a database are currently built to use either PostgreSQL. The documenation on this site deals purely with the Postgres implementation - this product being also open-source.

A number of templates make use of Postgres:

  • system. The system template provides a lot of the core functionality required to write web applications - things like the XML processing ability, ability to write data to pages etc. It also provides a simple mechanism to store files in a persistent storage area - actually in the database. This facility has a number of advantages: Write access to the underlying file system is not required; Files are stored securely in a database; in a large hosting system the file is available to all front-end processors.
  • contact. This stores a hierarchical representation of an organisation. Optionally collecting people into 'OUs' and 'Communities'. This template provides the core functionality for the Whitebeam security architecture.
  • catalogue. A hierarchical catalogue. A categorisation tree is constructed with arbitrary depth allowing items to be stored in a classification hierarchyb. This template can be used for either small - flat databases all the way up to hierarchical catalogues containing tens of thousands of items. The template also provides a means of storing files against catalogue entries - for example product images.
  • site. A central storage area for site-wide data. This is commonly used to store information that is needed for the site as a whole and is preferable to storing this information in the file-system. Common usages include : storing site parameters/preferences; menu structures; cached page information (for performance).
  • collection. Allows applications to represent relationships between contact and catalogue elements.
  • audit. A simple template allowing applications to keep audit trails.
  • chat. The core functionality to create a real-time 'chat' application including the ability to archive chat sessions in the database.
These templates are deliberately customisable - as well as the default fields defined by the template - specific applications can create their own arbitrary fields and have them stored with items. An example might be an application that needs to store pricing information for different discount models against items within the catalogue. All customisation is of course achieved through JavaScript. No raw access to the database (eg through SQL) is either required or allowed!

A tutorial provides full information on how to customise the data held by these templates.

Whitebeam release 1.3.36
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