[thelist] Database for News Stories and Press Releases

Chris Brody subscriptions at cbrody.com
Thu Jul 17 22:13:31 CDT 2003

Trisha Salas wrote:

> I am wanting to try my hand at creating a database for the Tulsa Ballet
> website for their news stories, press releases and reviews.
> Does anyone have any idea where to get started on something like this?  I
> will be using Access and asp.

You're obviously not the first person to want to do this sort of thing -
have you considered using an existing CMS (e.g. Typo3, PHPNuke etc.) or
blogging tool (e.g. Moveable Type)?

Not to put you off, but if you're determined to build your own content
management system (which is what you're describing), the main areas you'll
want to think about are authoring, data repository, workflow and
publication. How will data be entered into the system and by whom? How is it
stored? At what point does this data become approved for publication? And
how is it made live?

This probably sounds like overkill for a small, single-author site, but it
might be a good idea to look at how article data is stored in other systems,
as this will make easier in future should you want to move to a different
system or platform. For example, common news article formats are NewsML/NITF
and RSS (produced automatically by most blogging tools). A relational
database backend may not be absolutely necessary, but it will make it easier
to distinguish between various types of data, and you will need some way of
identifying what data belongs where (and when!) on the site. MSAccess itself
provides quite a good RDBMS tutorial; others, more qualified than I, will be
able to point you to the best online resources.

Another issue you'll want to consider is whether every page should be
created on the fly (i.e. with ASP pulling the data from the DB for each page
request). If the site ever gets heavy traffic (unlikely for a ballet site, I
guess) this can cause performance problems. Alternatives are to use some
form of reverse-proxy or cache, or to build a system that produces static
html pages at the relevant point in the workflow process.

Have fun!



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