Some time ago, I wrote two tutorials about creating a news system. Both of those tutorials dealt with using flat files as the method of storage. Today, we will investigate the use of a database backend, specifically MySQL.
Before we get started, I want to talk a little about my idea of tutorials. When I write a tutorial, it is not my goal to produce a complete working piece of code. Sure, a lot of times there will be a final product that you could use, but why would you want to when you can write your own code? The tutorials I write I meant to introduce concepts and new ideas to you. Maybe show you some aspect of PHP that you didn’t know about.
So, all I ask is that you don’t skip to the last page of this tutorial and snap the code and expect it to solve all your problems. Read through the tutorial and incorporate the ideas given here with your own and you will have a much better final product.
Let’s talk a minute about the concepts behind making a news system with PHP and MySQL. First off, the primary goal is to display news. So, the code should, before it does anything else, display news. On the backend, we will have a table to store all this news. We should probably store the news itself, a title for the news, and a date the news was published. Along with that, we will also have a unique id for each piece of news.
The next thing we want this system to do is allow users to comment on the news we post. We will store these comments in a table separate from the news. The reason for this is that you can have multiple comments per every news item. In database relationships, this is called a “one to many relationship”. In the comments table, we will want to store the comment itself, the name of the user, and the news id that it is associated with. We will also store a unique id for each comment.
The whole key to adding comments to a news system is to store the news id along with every comment. Without storing the news id, you would have no way to relate the comment back to the proper news item.
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