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BACKGROUND:  I am in the process of creating two data collections:  one will contain an eventually long series of weekly newsletters, and the other a similarly long series of weekly podcasts.  Each week the newsletter will be sent out to newsletter subscribers and the creation of a new podcast will be announced.  in contrast to the newsletters whose access will be unlimited to both subscribers and non-subscribers, the podcasts will be made available only to subscribers past a not yet determined number of weeks.  I have not yet decided whether to produce separate newsfeeds (RSS/RFD/ATOM) for the newsletters and podcasts or only one newsfeed for the newsletter.  

QUESTION ONE:  Is it possible to produce a single feed that provides access to separate folders of content?

QUESTION TWO:  Typically feeds refer to content that is readily accessible each time new material is made available.  How does one typically go about making accessible only the most recent addition to a folder while controlling who does and not have access to the other members of the folder.

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It sounds like these are all separate questions.  An RSS feed is just a bunch of XML that you can put URLs in, so you can put whatever you want for those URLs.  They don't all have to point to the same directory on the server.  You can use any URL you want.

How does one typically go about making accessible only the most recent addition to a folder while controlling who does and not have access to the other members of the folder.

It sounds like you need a database to manage the items in the feed, including posting dates, and also authorization for users that you can use to determine who has access to what.

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JSG:    It sounds like you need a database to manage the items in the feed, including posting dates, and also authorization for users that you can use to determine who has access to what.

RAS:    This question had more to do with the production of the XML file, but your response has told me how to resolve the problem, if I insist on separate folders for each issue and combination of newsletter and podcast.  In the meantime, I have pretty much decided to store the two sets of content in separate folders and unite their elements as needed with a script.

JSG:    It sounds like you need a database to manage the items in the feed, including posting dates, and also authorization for users that you can use to determine who has access to what.

RAS:    Yes and No.

            Yes, I will use a MySQL data base to store the information that facilitates the handling of the content, but the content itself will be stored in folders.  
        
            After some exploration on the net I discovered that using data bases to store media content for which access needs to be immediate and frequent -- protected or unprotected -- is simply inefficient.  The database slows down the process of retrieval by a significant amount.  In the end it appears that it is better to store media files in folders unless they are to be archived and only infrequently accessed.

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I wasn't suggesting storing the actual file data in database, that's definitely inefficient, but when you're talking about making the most recent things available and controlling access then it sounds like you use a database to keep track of your articles, when they were added, who gets access, etc.  Everything except the actual files.

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Yes, this is the goal.  I am not there yet.

Quote

 ..., but when you're talking about making the most recent things available and controlling access then it sounds like you use a database to keep track of your articles, when they were added, who gets access, etc.  Everything except the actual files.

Any suggestions with regard to software would be helpful.  I am at the exploration stage.

Roddy

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That's just a normal database-driven application.  You'll need to design the database to support the features you want, including authentication and authorization.

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I work with PHP and MySQL.  Would it be better to approach the problem from the PHP side using MySQLi or from the SQL side?  I am more comfortable with PHP, but am learning how to write SQL statements as I go along.

Roddy

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If you're using mysqli in PHP then you still need to write the SQL code.  mysqli is just an extension for using MySQL, it's not an abstraction layer like you would get with Zend Db or something where you're building PHP method calls instead of writing SQL queries.

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Got it.  Thanks for the introduction to Zend_Db.  Something to investigate further on.

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