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Keys to the Kingdom

Last year I picked up a copy of PHP & MySQL Web Development, and began the painful process of slogging through 5-10 pages a day (it’s over 800 pages long). I’m not a software developer, and sometimes people ask why I subject myself to a phone book’s worth of techno-jargon. Why don’t I just hire a developer to do the work I need? In fact I do hire developers. But unless I understand the nuts and bolts of the technology, It’s like trying to write a novel knowing only half the letters and nothing of grammar.

Relational database management has to be the beating heart of any B2B media model. And TCP/IP has to be the circulatory system. Every form of content has to feed into the system, be processed in the system, sliced and diced and delivered over the web in every form imaginable. All media must be multi-threaded and relational, rather than linear and self-contained.

A friend of mine is launching a business media web site with all of the latest interactive gizmos. He’s agonizing over his choice of Content Management System. Turnkey systems are inflexible, and expensive. An open-source system like Drupal is flexible, customizable and, best of all, FREE. But the cost for entry is a basic understanding of the technology. My friend can’t consider Drupal because he can’t get a handle on what’s involved in configuring it to his needs.

Near the end of my PHP book they list web sites that offer a mountain of free downloadable open-source software code. I spent some time the other day looking through SourceForge. To the uninitiated it looks like babble. Those in the know will find all the components of the B2B media equivalent of the next YouTube or Facebook. And it’s all free.

(BTW, this blog is produced in WordPress, a simple open-source content management system. I’m not brave enough to open it up and futz with the source code but maybe someday.)

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