At some point, youll want to move an application from the desktop to a Web scenario or create a new application exclusively for a Web environment. Youll find that COM+ is a good choice for some types of Web development. Web sites are becoming increasingly complex as remote users, business partners , and customers ask them to do more for them automatically. The complexity of the new Web pages developers are creating to answer remote access requirements affect remote users. An employee on the road requires full access to company resources, but transferring that data over nonsecure media to a client-side application that doesnt provide great flexibility is a challenge.
Weve already looked at several methods for enhancing the remote employees ability to continue working. For example, the disconnected application in Chapter 9 offers one solution to the problem of keeping employees connected. However, you need to consider what happens if these other solutions wont work for some reason. In some cases, the only real requirement is to provide the remote user with access to information, not the ability to exchange it with the company. In many situations, a Web-based application is the right answer to your application needs. Fortunately, by using COM+ you can augment the capabilities provided by Web-based solutions.
This chapter contains an example of a typical Web-based application that could employ the capabilities COM+ can provide. Were going to create a help- desk type of application that a user on the road can access to resolve problems such as getting orders entered correctly. Such an application could also help the user find small but significant problems on his or her laptop and provide other forms of support as well.
Youll complete this application by learning about four areas of development. The first area is easyyoull learn about the Microsoft SQL Server 2000 database used for this example. Ive already provided everything needed to create it as part of the source code. Help-desk applications often rely on a rule database and an application to perform analysis of a problem the user might be having. Creating the associated analysis component is the second development task. The third development task is creating the Active Server Pages (ASP) script the remote employee will use to interact with the help file and help desk. I chose ASP in this case because the page is so simple and ASP makes it easier to display the code. The fourth development task is to put all the pieces together.