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I want to build a website that allows users to submit their articles. What is involved in building a site like this besides HTML.
What would I need? If the site get's pretty big how would I limit the amount of time spending reading all the articles?
and is this a good idea?
The simple way to control content is to set an article to inactive on initial submission, then after you review it, set it to active. Once active, it can't be edited by the end user. You know what's active by doing a query on articles for the inactive value, or by checking for dates for new submissions. Sounds complicated but it boils down to a single link in your admin login.
There's probably software out there that does most of this but I've always found canned solutions **almost** work but are missing one or two things for the task that render them unusable. So I wrote mine myself. :-)
And yes, I **must** think it's a good idea, because I did exactly that for a hobby of mine. The idea of collaborative content is one that brings in the rich ideas of an entire community rather than a few people. That spells diversity.
Alternatively - you could just install a message board.
What would I need?
and is this a good idea?
If you can find a way to get 2 or 3 quality, 100% original articles submitted per day then I would say it is a good idea. This would give you 700-1000 new pages per year.
How difficult would that be to someone who doesn't know a thing about databases?
Also how could i ensure that i get links to the articles themselves. (I'd be linking out to the author's) but what about links coming in?
Linking out to the authors? Sounds like you are going to have duplicate content issues. Quality content will build links naturally. There is plenty of info here about link development methods.
Oh and would adding adsense to the ads bring in any money? (Nothing big like couple 100 a month?)
There are many, many factors that will affect adsense earnings. One example, some keywords pay .05 per click while others pay over $1. Building a useful site with quality content and it is possible to build a good Adsense revenue.
I suggest reading through this website. This forum is an extremely valuable resource and it will help you with just about anything you want to know.
Someone told me that Mambo server would be good in this scenerio? Is this true?
I don't know anything about it.
Could I learn it? (I know some programming languages i.e. Visal Basic, C++)
Don't take this the wrong way, but how is it possible for you to know VB and C++ and not know anything about databases?
I've been trying lots of CMS systems lately and didn't really like Mambo. The ones that grab me are Xaraya (most powerful, nicest architecture, but heavy and slow), Etomite, and possibly e107 when it hits a verison 1.0 level. That's just me, though, there's a site that lets you try them out called something like cmsmatrix or opensourcecms or something like that.
As for learning the programming, most scripting languages (PHP for example) are much higher level languages than C++, so they are way easier. For example, PHP allows this
$var = "I'm a string";
$var = 1;
The typecasting is done for you, and that's just the start - many built-in functions that are not libraries, but actually part of the language. Furthermore, the basic syntax is roughly like C++ so things like
echo "X equals 5";
is probably immediately obvious to you.
No problem, find a CMS you like or just pick one, put it up, start building content and learn the programming as you go.
Anyway, I think it's conceptually simpler than C++, but then there are a lot of things you won't be used to and tons - hundreds and hundreds - of functions that will be unfamiliar to you that can save you so much effort compared to doing something the C++ way.
Like I said, start with a CMS that you find tolerable. Then hack it to work the way you want. Because the syntax will be obvious, but the vocabulary (function names, language structures) will not, by doing it this way you can go from the code to the manual and get a feel for whatever language you use.
Most free CMS are in PHP and PHP is very well documented, so that's not a bad place to start. If you really want to code it yourself from scratch and you don't know any web scripting languages, in addition to PHP, check out a language called Ruby and the framework that goes along with it, called Rails.
If you opt for the PHP route, be sure to come visit us over in the php forum (see link under my username).