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What is your favorite way to build link pages/sites?

Building a link site - remember 1995? ;)

   
9:28 pm on Sep 17, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member jtara is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member



I'm building a site that is basically a "link directory". Remember 1995? Lots of web sites were simply lists of links on a particular topic that the owner has some expertise in. Typically, a link and a little bit of commentary, and gathered into categories.

It's basically a "time waster" site which will have an exhaustive list of YouTube videos, newspaper/magazine articles, blogs, etc. about a popular cultural phenemona. It could be, say, "driving while talking on the cell phone" (but it isn't). It's the kind of thing people might plink around with for a few minutes on their lunch break or while imbibing at a party... Anyway, it has to LOOK GOOD, so I really need layout flexibility, the ability to style with a style sheet, etc.

I'm sure many of you maintain similar sites (maybe not time-wasters :) ), and/or a similar section on your site.

I sure don't want to build all the HTML by hand. That seems silly. I'd like to have the URL, link text, description, and commentary in a database, and either use a tool to generate static HTML pages, or use a script to generate pages directly from the database.

Oh - one special requirement - I'd like to be able to EMBED the link in the commentary, rather than being forced to follow a fixed format. Something with a simple macro language would do the trick.

i.e.

Fran Fadiddlehopper's Ultimate Guide to Red Widgets is the last word on the subject.

The commentary might be represented in the database as:

"Fran Fadiddlehopper's $Link is the last word on the subject."

Of course, on output it would substitute the link from the same row of the database.

I know there are a lot of "link directory" packages out there. But most seem rather limited, and present the data in a constrained format. (Or maybe the examples I've seen have been implemented poorly.) You know, the kind of stuff you see on Yet Another City Directory Site. I don't want it to look like that...

I'm considering using a CMS (perhaps Drupal) with a package or plugin that serves this purpose. This would serve the data out of a database - not terribly efficient - but caching should bring performance closer to that of static HTML pages.

Am I barking up the wrong tree altogether wanting to use a "links package"? Would a more general solution (i.e. module to "show records from a database, with some form of templating") work just as well or better?

What is YOUR favorite solution to building link directory sites/pages, and why?

 

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