Establishing that first connection with Oracle will either be remarkably easy or mind-blazingly difficult. Due to many external factors such as the operating system of your Oracle server, the operating system of your web server, and your choice of a web-scripting language, Oracle connections can sometimes be problematic. But, at base, you have four connection options: ODBC (Open Database Connectivity), JDBC (Java DataBase Connectivity), OLE DB (Object Linking and Embedding Data Base), and native drivers. Each option uses a driver specific to the version and operating system of your Oracle server.
Microsoft ASP (Active Server Pages) let you connect to any Oracle database through an ODBC driver or an OLEDB driver. You can obtain ODBC drivers for Oracle 8i and 9i from Oracle (www.oracle.com) and from Microsoft (www.microsoft.com).
Microsoft ASP.NET lets you connect to any Oracle database through an ODBC driver or an OLEDB driver. You can download ODBC drivers for Oracle8i and 9i from Oracle (www.oracle.com) and from Microsoft (www.microsoft.com).
Macromedia ColdFusion let you connect to an Oracle database natively using JDBC or ODBC. Both the JDBC and ODBC drivers are installed with ColdFusion. However, you can download updated drivers from Macromedia (www.macromedia.com), Microsoft (www.microsoft.com), and Oracle (www.oracle.com).
Unfortunately, for PHP (Hypertext Preprocessor) development, Dreamweaver supports only the MySQL database system. Database systems such as Microsoft Access, SQL Server, and Oracle are not supported. Although Dreamweaver does not support direct connectivity to Oracle from PHP, PHP does support ODBC connections. Therefore, it is possible to create a PHP web application that connects to Oracle.
Tip The Macromedia Exchange site (www.macromedia.com/exchange) offers third-party PHP extensions that provide server-side functionality comparable to Dreamweaver MX.
JSP (JavaServer Pages) lets you connect to an Oracle database using the JDBC driver for Oracle. You can download a list of drivers for Oracle databases at Sun's site (http://industry.java.sun.com/ products/jdbc/drivers).
Taking JSP and Oracle one-step further, you can download a set of Dreamweaver MX extensions from Oracle.com to generate ServerBehavior extensions for Oracle 9iAS JSP tags. You can download the free Oracle Extensions for Macromedia Dreamweaver MX at the Oracle Technology Network (http://otn.oracle.com/products/ias/9ias_partners.html#Macromedia).
Note Choosing the correct connection driver from the available Oracle drivers list is critical. In most cases, the version of Oracle being used dictates which driver should be used. In the past, simply finding the correct driver was a Herculean task. However, recently Oracle has made all versions of their drivers available on their website. To save you much time and trouble, be certain you are using the latest drivers designed for your version of Oracle.
Because Oracle is the leading database choice in today's technology market, you have many avenues for finding more information on Oracle. The hardest part is determining the best resources on which to spend your time and/or money. The primary resource for all things Oracle is www.oracle.com. Here you can stay up-to-date with the latest version of Oracle, find a well-maintained knowledge base of Oracle issues and solutions, browse a large database of Oracle-related products and services, and peruse an online reference for Oracle training and education.
In addition to the Oracle website, check out these books: OCP: Oracle8i™ DBA Architecture & Administration and Backup & Recovery Study Guide, OCA/OCP: Introduction to Oracle9i SQL Study Guide, and Mastering Oracle8i, all from Sybex. To keep current with tips and techniques, we suggest The Oracle Professional at www.oracleprofessionalnewsletter.com and Exploring Oracle at www.elementkjournals.com. Finally, nothing substitutes for networking with people in the know, so check out your area Oracle User Group.