Example 2: A Conferencing-Enabled Helpdesk Application
Despite the lengthy XML detour, this chapter is really about conference-enabled groupware. Weâve seen how to inject a docbase outline into an NNTP newsgroup, where it can serve as a framework for discussion and review. Now letâs try a variation on the theme. HelpDesk is a hybrid web/NNTP application that uses web techniques to populate and view a database of trouble tickets and uses a newsgroup to add a conferencing dimension to that database. Figure 9.7 shows the form used to open a trouble ticket.
FigureÂ 9-7.Â Opening a trouble ticket
The formâs handler creates a record in an SQL database, which can be inspected using the web-based viewer shown in Figure 9.8.
FigureÂ 9-8.Â Viewing the ticket database
How does the form handler connect to the SQL database? It could use any of a number of conventional web-to-database techniques. Weâll look at one way to do web-to-SQL integration in Chapter 15. At issue here is how to use an NNTP server as a discussion component. Weâve already seen how a web formâs handler can inject messages into a newsgroup to create a framework for discussion. HelpDesk does that too. Figure 9.9 shows the newsgroup view that corresponds to the database shown in Figure 9.8.
FigureÂ 9-9.Â Newsgroup view ...