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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)

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WebmasterWorld Senior Member jtara is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

joined:Nov 26, 2005
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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.


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?