Think of content like laundry

In much the same way separating colors from whites in your laundry ensures best results, agency webmasters should host static and dynamic Web pages on separate servers to minimize response time, one content management software provider suggests.

'Many Web sites have lots of dynamic Web content but also have an awful lot of static content, too,' said Jennifer Hanes, vice president for marketing and operations at PaperThin Inc. of Boston. 'You can farm work out to multiple servers. The advantage is you don't have all the load for accessing the content on a single server.'

A static page is a single file, written in HTML, perhaps with pointers to images. A dynamic page is created at the request of a user, with style sheets and scripting languages drawing information held in databases.

Dynamic Web pages offer more flexibility in designing rich and personalized content, but they come at a price. They require more computational resources to create than is needed to serve static pages.

Avoid static cling

The latest version of PaperThin's content manager server, released this month, has the ability to serve static and dynamic content from individual servers.

'We've written code that can determine if the content is static or dynamic and determine where the pages should be served from,' Hanes said. 'So users visiting a site getting high traffic can still view static content very quickly.'

PaperThin is targeting CommonSpot, for which licenses start at $19,500, as best for managing public and intranet sites at small to midsize organizations.

In January, the National Park Service bought CommonSpot to manage its park sites. The Architect of the Capitol bought it so Senate restaurant managers can post daily menus, Hanes said.

Other users of CommonSpot include the Army Corps of Engineers, National Institute of Standards and Technology and Oregon Revenue Department.

About the Author

Joab Jackson is the senior technology editor for Government Computer News.

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