View Full Version : Visitor-specific content

04-14-2003, 05:33 PM
Please go to http://my.yahoo.com

I will be in charge of building a new site for my company and my boss wants it to be like My Yahoo in that a visitor can log in and the content will be customized to their preferences. If you go to the site above, you should be able to see what I mean.

Anyway, can anyone give me a quick overall of what would be involved with setting this up? I'm not an expert, but I have access to experts, so for now if you could keep the explanation as simple as possible, I would appreciate it. Thank you!!

04-14-2003, 06:19 PM
Well, you will need to use a server-side language for a start, like PHP or ASP. You will also need a database to store information.

If you got people that know server side coding they should be able to help describe what is involved.

04-14-2003, 06:33 PM
thanks. That's what I figured. I guess it'll be something where a database stores different numbers based on a log on. So let's say a user indicates they do not want a section, a zero is entered in their space in the column for that section; they indicate they want to view a section, so a one is entered. Then when they visit, the code will only display content with "1" for the value of the column for that log on.

Is that like even in the vicinity of how this whole thing would/could work??

04-14-2003, 06:43 PM
Yes thats the general concept. When a user views the page, the server side code would open the database and pull up the record and that record could store the user preferences, their name, whatever you wanted it to store. Then the page would be built based on the information from the database.

04-14-2003, 06:56 PM
It could work like that, yes. Basically, there are a myriad of ways you could structure your database; and the database structure is the absolute key to designing a useful site.

You're going to have a "users" table, for instance - to store their unique id number, name, password, access rights and so on. You'll need a "content" table, storing chunks of html code (or just plain text), a unique id number (Golden Rule #1: EVERYTHING should have a unique id), and information about where on the page the content should be displayed. How are you going to relate the two tables to each other?

One way - and there's a name for this sort of table relationship, only I've forgotten :) - is to have a third table, "user_content", that has columns for unique id (see Golden Rule #1), user_id and content_id. You select everything record from this table where the user_id maches your logged-in user, and that gives you a nice list of id numbers for all the content records your user has requested.

Did that make any sense at all? Sorry, it's late and I've drunk far too much coffee.

Anyway, the first thing is, like oracleguy sez, to get yourself familiar with a server-side language, ie: PHP or ASP. After that, it's all plain sailing ;)

04-14-2003, 08:29 PM
Yeah it basically boils down to how you choose to sturcture your database and what information is stored. There isn't really a "correct" method of doing it.

You mentioned you had access to experts, I'd recommend you talk to them and see what their thoughts are on the subject, and if they are the ones doing the actually programming then see what their programming style is.