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-- by Martin Heller
HREF Tools offers an alternative to more complex methods of creating Web-server applications: using Borland's Delphi in conjunction with WebHub 1.0.
Web-server application development is reputed to be difficult. The barrier seems so high that most Web authors don't bother with actual applications-they just deliver individual, static Web pages. The distinction is subtle: Web applications can track a user from page to page and generate content dynamically depending on that user's past actions.
WebHub further simplifies the process. It has an application broker, or Hub, that runs on the Web server; about 30 component objects for building Web functionality and communication with the Hub into Delphi programs; and a macro language that helps tie WebHub server applications to HTML.
WebHub's macro language is similar to ASP. But programming server applications with Delphi unlocks WebHub's power: It's those little bits of code tying the objects together that make the system hum.
If you're not going to build custom Delphi Web applications, WebHub isn't really worth the money: You can download ASP for free. But if you're experienced in Delphi, WebHub can greatly speed your Web-application development. The program's components range from data grids to credit-card validation. And if you have a high-volume Web site, WebHub can help make your site scale well. Its native compiled code runs quickly, and it directly supports running applications on multiple CPUs and machines. Finally, by cleanly separating the HTML from the application, WebHub facilitates site maintenance.