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How it all works
The Spiders


The aim of the sub-web system is to allow groups access to the technology that we at the LIBC have worked hard to produce for our website. In other words, let others use existing technology, existing maintenance and existing support.

How do they work?

The sub-web area is made up of a series of "templates" derived from the templates used in the main web. One set of templates is common to all the individual sub-webs.

When we set up a new sub-web we just add a new record to the sub-web master database containing a name, editor, username, password, etc. If a club only wants to show Noticeboard and Leagues in their sub-web, we just set a switch that "hides" the other areas.

Once the sub-web has been initiated, the registered editor can log in using their individual username and password. They can then enter data for their sub-web using a series of data-entry templates relating to the individual areas (of the sub-web).

For example, when a reader clicks on the sub-web link "Bowls Lincolnshire (Men)" the browser URL area displays ".../ClubHome.aspx?ClubID=35". That is received at the server by our code which translates it into a command to load the ClubHome.aspx "template" with data from our databases related to sub-web ID 35 - Bowls Lincolnshire (Men).

That data will be part of the collection of the words, numbers and results as entered by the sub-web's editor. When you click on a link within a sub-web, more of that data is displayed in another template applicable to the link clicked. And so on.

Apart from words and numbers (and switches!!) all sub-webs are the same ( terms of design, templates and handling code). They only differ by their content - data held in the databases.

The advantages of database driven templates.

Simple - design once, use often. If we didn't use this method we could not offer sub-webs. Its as simple as that.

The downsides!!

A couple of points -
  1. Design changes that sound simple can involve a considerable level of modification. Simple sounding changes may well require us to :-
    - Redesign, modify and test the handling code (currently well used and very stable).
    - Redesign, modify and test the templates (again currently well used and very stable).
    - Redesign, modify and test the relational databases (again curr........etc.).
    - Migrate everyone's data to the new design.
  2. Any design change of any sort will affect the design of ALL the sub-webs!!
This isn't to say that we shouldn't ever change things, but any change should require both agreement from ALL the sub-web editors and our having time to do the work. Requests for change will be much better received if the sub-web editors "gang up" on us, as that will mean general agreement!
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Web editor
Danny Brown
Content by The Spiders