Escaping the relational database paradigm:
Case management in the High Court of Australia

Publishing selected information to the Internet

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The next phase of the project, pending approval from the Court, will involve making selected information from the case management system available over the Internet to any person with a web browser. If implemented, this will doubtless prove of great utility to parties and interested members of the public, and should reduce the number of routine enquiries about the status of various cases presently dealt with by Registry staff.

Web access to this information would be made possible by regularly copying, to a proxy server, selected information from the databases which make up the case management system. A Notes Domino server on that proxy server would respond to connections from web browsers by dynamically producing hypertext markup language (HTML) documents.

One of the strengths of Notes is its ability to publish nominated objects from within a Notes database dynamically to the Internet. Unlike many competing relational database products electronic publishing to the Internet can be done seamlessly and without the need for third party products. Notes allows Internet publication down to individual database field level.

Subject to the Court's approval, the Notes server would be programmed to replicate nominated fields to a second web server on an hourly basis during business hours. The use of a proxy server to publish information to the Internet would guarantee the integrity of the primary Notes server: no direct connection to the server from the Internet would be possible. At worst, a hacker could gain access only to the proxy server. Any fields on this server that had been damaged or changed would be restored at the next replication.

Whilst the decision whether to proceed with this phase of the project is yet to be taken, Notes does include native web publishing and server replication facilities. The ability to publish selected fields, including embedded objects, is an added advantage.

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