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1)is it less benificial to my link development (in terms of PR) to have these four closely grouped links than a single link would be?
2)after their 15 minutes of fame on the front page, the news stories are archived into static html pages. would i be better setting a delay on the newsfeed so it requests yesterdays stories, and then have these linked back to the static pages? then i would have links to four different pages of my site, rather than 4 links to index.php.
the type of news we cover is rarely abosolutely time critical and delaying the newsfeed until the stories have been archived shouldnt be a problem.
As for dealing with the dynamic stories and the static pages I'd write the static documents immediately as well as keep them in the db. Once thier 15 minutes are up - trash them from the db and leave the static pages. Use the static pages for your news feeds.
i would love to be able to generate static pages on request but i didnt write the db (im just getting started with php/mysql). the static pages are generated via a cron running every night.
im gonna try to get the feed to show a stories from the past few days, 3 at a time at random and link them back to static pages.
It's not as hard as it seems though XML - when considered in it's entirety - is a rather large animal and can be intimidating. Just stick to the RSS vein and you should master that portion relatively quickly. You will, of course, need to work with XML but it shouldn't be too bad. Good luck.