Website Aggregation without a DB

Warning - Old Content

This post is quite old, and it might not apply anymore, or maybe there's a better way to do the same thing nowadays. Take with a big grain of salt.

Laziness is the prime virtue of a good programmer (along with being a polyglot, knowing the ins and outs of their editor, and knowing how to google APIs), but it is often forgotten when working on a personal project. My website has been no exception - I’ve actually spent far too much time writing my own session/users/form/template systems over the years.

No more! As of today, my site is lean and mean (technically as of a few months back, but I didn’t write anything about it at the time). The major slimming factor? That nasty database layer that usually seems critical to the whole structure. As it turns out though, there have been major improvements in the state of the web since I started hand-crafting web apps in 1998. For one thing, the blogging craze has come and gone - as evidenced by the fact that I’ve started mine again. More importantly, social networking sites are on the scene, allowing regular people to have a web presence without even needing to pick a template. Other major changes are the availability of tons of storage on sites like flickr and picasa (update: later eaten by google plus).

So why write that backend code at all? My website now fetches all of its data via RSS feeds, with the actual updating, security, storage, and other annoying boilerplate being handled by companies with hundreds of employees. The breakdown: