Best Approach to "Data Control" Website?

Hi guys,

I'm currently using a fully updated version of FC5 and PostGreSQL on a
local machine in my office. I've also successfully setup RoR WebRick
server and Apache 2.0. Today I have been going through some of the
basic examples in the first part of the book, "Agile Web Development
With Rails". I came across a statement that the "Component Approach"
should not be used because it will perform slower and because it will
create problems in the website maintenance arena. So my question is,
if I don't use the "component approach" then what approach should I
use? I've read that AJAX might hold the key to better
performance...but does that mean that I have to start using JAVA?

My goal at this point is to do a "proof of concept" test website on the
local area network that will have a basic website with a "MS Access
like data control" to show my boss that it "can be done". Then I'll
start trying to optimize it further. I would prefer to use PostGreSQL
as the back end. And I've already gotten PostGreSQL working and have
created a test database with tables and have successfully used PgAdmin3
to make changes to the database.

Any advice you can give me would be appreciated.

Sincerely,

Arthur Baldwin