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Brett in deep thought about programming (in July 2000)

Build your own photoblog in MS Access

26 Apr 2003

When someone like me builds a database-driven website, he usually locates a webserver that allows ASP or PHP or CFM scripting. Well, I wanted to keep my site on Prodigy (which does not allow scripting), but I also wanted the site to appear dynamic, as if it is being generated on the fly from a database.

So I built a Microsoft Access XP database on my home PC which turns blog entry records into static HTML pages. The database has four local tables: blog, header, footer, imgfolder. There are two linked tables (basepath and picdesc) which point to my other frequently-used Access database where I index all my digital pictures. In the two VBA modules ("blog code" and "digipic code") I have written functions do to all the file manipulation and picture handling.

Every blog page begins as simple data entry. I tell the database the filename for the page, the photo filename I am using that day, the caption for the photo, the header text (e.g. "Build your own photoblog"), the actual web-log narrative, and a summary line. The program automatically calculates the date and time of the entry, the filename for the previous blog entry, and the filename for the next blog entry.

When I am satisfied that my entry is complete, I click the "build this page" button I added to my entry screen. It runs some VBA which concatenates HTML text from the header table to HTML text in the blog table and HTML text in the footer table, occasionally peeking into the Imgfolder table for path info. A few seconds later, I have a new, complete HTML page that I can FTP into my Prodigy folder. At the same time, I get a recalculated Index.html page and a recalculated Archive page.

After I FTP the updated pages and their required images to my Prodigy webspace, then the world can read my latest photoblog entry and navigate around all the other entries as if they were being created on demand. Can you tell I'm proud of myself?

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fool people into thinking you are using server-side scripting like ASP or PHP Kelly and the big water tower shadow (in Feb 2002) my recliner when it sat in my old apartment on Larkin Rd

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