1. What are the disadvantages of cgi representation of a web-site?
Normally, a dynamic website derives its content from one or more back-end databases. The connection strings for obtaining this data is a program string, and does not make any sense for a normal website visitor. Effectively, there is no or little information provided to a website visitor using a normal program string. This is one of the primary reasons for conversion of script based URLs to a human readable form of URLs.
Another major reason is search engine compatibility. Google®, http://www.google.com/webmasters/2.html#A1, a major search engine provider have the following to say:
"Reasons your site may not be included: Your pages are dynamically generated. We are able to index dynamically generated pages. However, because our web crawler can easily overwhelm and crash sites serving dynamic content, we limit the amount of dynamic pages we index."
Additionally, dynamic URLs are difficult to type. The length, use special characters such as &,%,$ etc., and complexity of these URLs makes typos commonplace.
Therefore, the usability and accessibility of the website will obviously be affected due to the above.
2. What is HTML conversion of web site?
The solution is HTML conversion of the website. Normally, dynamic content cannot be distinguished from static content, except for the special characters such as ?,& etc. in the URL. By programmatically converting these URLs to static version will make the website to appear as having only static HTML pages.
For example, a dynamic URL may look like this:
A Static URL: http://www.domain.com/shop/id/12/1609.html
Both URLs carry the same information: the application will pull information from the database and display information about a product with the ID 1609. The latter is more search engine friendly, and human readable. The whole website is converted to html version, and it is transparent to visitors as well as search engines.
3. What are the advantages of HTML conversion of web-site?
Human friendly URLs that are easy to refer to a friend, read and type.
Better visibility to search engines
Improved usability and accessibility.
4. Example web-sites: Before and after html conversion.
anandsoft.com have experience in converting CGI/PHP websites to html version. One such website can be found here. Though the website was indexed fairly well even before conversion, the conversion has improved the usability and accessibility of the website. In another case, the cgi version of the website was not indexed completely. After conversion, the website was indexed fully and the usability has improved significantly.