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BEE Facilities Guide to developing websites

As a BEE designer or programer, you would need to have the basic concept of BEE and its facilities.  The followings are the givens in every BEE Portal website:

  • Virtual Page - The "mother of all owner created pages"
  • TEA - Text Edit Area
  • TEACUP - Text-Edit-Area Created and Updated Properties
  • TEAPOT - Text-Edit-Area Presented Object Template
  • Site Applications - The application functions specific for the website
  • Portal Object - The object that encapsulate website functions

Virtual Page can be viewed as a server-side "template" that generates webpages that are largely the same except for the owner content areas.  When a URL is entered and the page is physically "not found", the display will redirect to the Virtual Page, which shows in the owner content according to that URL, effectively realising the URL on the fly without physically creating the webpage.

TEA (Text Edit Area) is the owner content area mentioned above.  Such content can be created and updated by the website owner using the admin login.  You may have more than one TEA on one single webpage.  TEA is the core magic of Virtual Page: All pages look largely the same except for the TEAs.

TEACUP (Text-Edit-Area Created and Updated Properties) are "variables" inside TEA that can be interpreted by the Virtual Page.  For example, a product page may contain the product code, name, description and price.  e.g. "This newly released{Name=Camera} costs only ${Price=200}."  These values are available via the session%teacup variable.  In the above example, {session%teacup:Name} is "Camera" and {session%teacup:Price} is 200.

TEAPOT (Text-Edit-Area Presented Object Template) are templates for the website to display objects.  It is usually used in DRB (Data Record Browser).  For example, when a search result returns some data records, the DRB will use a multiple record TEAPOT to display them.  (If there are more records than the page size, DRB with page them accordingly.)  When the visitor click on a record, DRB will use a single record TEAPOT to display its details.  The TEA contains the field value in curly brackets.  e.g. "This newly released {Name} costs only ${Price}." where {Name} and {Price} are from the data record.  The values are available via the session%teapot variable.

Site Applications are application functions such as menu editing, website settings, shopping cart and other functions tailor-made for the owner.  These functions are stored in the "appl" directory of the website source.  The Portal Object will check the existance of an application in the "appl" directory and plug it in if found.  Depending on needs, each application function can be split into two parts: the Process in the Prelude part and the Display in the Body part (discussed in the Webpage Structure section).

The Portal Object encapsulates the above BEE Portal features and hide the complications from the BEE designers so that they can concentrate on the artwork and layout.  Most of the behaviours of the Portal Object are from the scheme% class, and there are not much for programming.  But if a BEE programmer really want to do something special, the source code of the Portal Object is a very good reference.

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