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Comparing static webpages with phpWebSite
updated by rck, 2007-01-07

A lot of people are confronted with a tough decission: Should I go for static pages or should I rather take a CMS for my web content needs? While the comparison between a static web page and a CMS might seem a little bit unfair to the pros, it is still reality and something worth reviewing.

The following article tries to shine a little light on the possibilities of phpWebSite, compared with static solutions that can cope without databases and even without php.

Hello CGI

Open Diary
Then, there was a concept similar to Server Side Includes. The Common Gateway Interface provides means of executing programs prior to distributing the HTML content to web browsers. This opened up a whole load of new possibilities. Like online Database browsing, for example. Online Forums, as we know them. Or Content Management Systems.

Web based Content Management Systems take their stuff out of databases most of the time. So instead of coding each and every page you have statically and having to download them, change them and re-upload them, hoping that ftp did not mess up you provide a template which is filled by a database.

That database can be either filled with a regular database client. Or there can be some kind of Back End, providing web administrators with means of entering content directly via the web. The ease of use of such systems started a new hype called "Blogging". According to Wikipedia, Blogs started in 1998. The "Open Diary" provided means of writing online diaries.

What's a Blog?

A blog is a simple form of a web based content management system. Simply put, you have a text box where you can fill in your content and publish it instantly. This content is shown on the top of your "blog", your personal home page. Blogs can also include sophisticated ways of distributing your content, like RSS feeds (machine readable content announcements) or Trackbacks (machine writeable commenting).

CGI, and especially Blogs made the Internet interactive. It is not possible to comment a web page by means of static HTML alone, for example. Free Blogs include:

Advantages of a Blog

Compared to static pages, blogs have all kind of advantages. I've already mentioned the possibility to comment stuff. There's also the famous "tagging". You can categorize your stuff, for example "Private", "Adorements", "Rants". Using that information, the Blog automatically generates lists. So if you click on "Rants", you'll see a list of all your rants. That's automatic Menu generation.

Also, most Blogs have interchangeable designs. Don't like the blue layout with three columns? Why not use the pink one with two columns then. And add a fancy new header maybe. At a mouse click. Static Pages are a hassel to maintain, a Blog is a big step forward here.

Some blogs also provide you with a calendar, so you can find content of a certain date easily.

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