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News Site design help (x-posted to the SQL board)


3VM
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Hi all! So I'm just starting to design a news site that I hope will expand greatly in the next few years. Being that news sites can be quite a difficult task since they have so many pages to work with, I want to start the design and coding of the site off on the right foot so I can save myself the time and pain of having to completely redo the site in the future.Here are some sample news sites (some you definitely know, others you might not).www.cnn.comwww.wiretapmag.orgwww.ipsnews.netBasically I want to know what makes these sites operate the way they do. My biggest concern has to do with writing unnecessary, redundant code that will become a problem to update later. For example, I want to know that if I change the basic page layout or the company logo, I won't need to update hundreds (or even thousands) of pages in the future to make sure they all have uniform design. What do you all suggest is the best way to develop a site of this magnitude from the beginning?Just so you all know, I am using a web hosting company that offers PHP 4.4 & 5.2, MySQL 5.0, Apache 2, and Ruby on Rails 1.2.From my research, it seems I need to make use of a web template system. If I'm right about this, which ones do you suggest? I read that Smarty is good for PHP and PageTemplate is good for Ruby.Should I make use of a content management system (CMS)? If so, would I use it along with the web template system or in replacement of it? I've read that WordPress, Joomla, and Mambo are pretty good.And how does MySQL play into all of this? I know it's a good way to store news articles but when is it needed and when is it not?And what about a web application framework like Ruby on Rails? The web hosting company I use offers it, so should I use it? I've done some reading on it but I don't really understand it well. Would I being using Ruby instead of PHP and MySQL or alongside them? Would I still need to use a web template system? If so, would I have to use one that supports Ruby (like PageTemplate) or would I be free to use Smarty for PHP? What about the need for a CMS?As you can see, I'm just beginning to develop the site and don't really know which direction to take it. I'd like to separate design from content and make the site easy to be updated and maintained through templates, databases, etc.Any and all help is appreciated. Thank you all so much.(x-posted to the SQL board)

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