Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Google Driven Architecture (GDA)

A few days I decided to try something different and it worked wonderfully. For the last couple of years or so, I have been spending some time building a web site for the New Market Antique Dealers Association (NMADA). I charged them a very low amount since I was helping them out. The user community for this web site is not at all computer savvy. Here were their requirements:
  1. NMADA shall have an updated website
  2. NMADA members shall be able to write entries and upload pictures about their products (antiques)
  3. NMADA would like to a calendar to update their entries
Traditionally I would create a typical website with a MySQL database in the back-end and a PHP site in the front. Unfortunately the NMADA had an existing website which was a static site with lots of outdated pictures. The website was just an old website. I took the brave task of updating the website unfortunately after a couple months, I realized that I didn't have any time. I asked a dear friend of mine to help with me the with site. He finished the site and now the website can be found at Recently the NMADA members came to me and asked for my help to fulfill the second requirement of having a content management system. Fortunately before the members could spring the second requirement as an actionable task, I moved their hosting to a site which provides database and PHP support. Even though I felt fortunate, time was still against me. I therefore decided to implement the second requirement using Google Technologies. Rather than create a database schema, research and implement a content management system, I decided to use Google's Blogger website as the the content management system. Now NMADA users can login into the Blogger website with their Gmail accounts which I created for them, write their content, upload pictures and publish the content to the newmarkettoday website. I know. I know. What's so special about that? Developers have been using this practice for ages. Well let me tell you. I built the functionality in fifteen minutes and another five minutes to customize the site. Google's Blogger website has well defined access controls which can be customized for various NMADA members.

Okay let me get to the point (I know I am dragging but it's good to prolong sometimes...okay).
It is possible to create a professional level website with just Google technologies. Hence the title, I use Google Drive Architecture for building websites. - You can use it as a WYSIWYG editor and to upload pictures and videos into your website.

Google Page Creator - You can publish static pages to the website. I currently use it to store attachments which are linked to my blog entries.

Google Calendar - You can publish events to Google Calendar and invite guests

Google Docs - You can write and publish documents on your website

Google Checkout - You can use this when you want to enable e-commerce functionality to your website.

Google Mashup Editor - You can use this when you want to create custom views with your data.

Google Sites - You can use this as your integrated Google tool to build and manage your website.

As you can see, it may not be the most straightforward but it is possible. The bottom line is that your don't need spend tons of money on folks like me who can build you a php or a Java enabled websites which have all of the snazzy bells and whistles. If you really to build a good website then you should hire someone however you have a mom and pop store then it is time to use GDA - the next paradigm in the land of many architectural paradigms.

A Google Sites YouTube video

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