Website Overhaul with SQL & PHP

This was posted on 2023-05-07


I have had many websites and blogs since I was in high school. In many instances I have tried creating creating my own website to showcase my projects since I have never come across a suitable platform. However, my website development skills were also not very good (Not like it is any better now, but at least I have some understanding on how to properly make use of backend processing using php and browser processing using javascript)

For a while I was using Googles blogger to capture my projects. Which you can see here: https://johnsamarasinghe.blogspot.com/

But what I wanted for a place where I can post my ideas on the fly and as well as showcase the important projects. This is a mix of what my websites used to be and Blogger. I think finally I have achieved something very close on this website.

The Home Page

The landing page of my website has always been a simple page which shows a quick summary of who I am and what skills I bring to the table. I wanted to keep this as it is but I made some tweaks such that I don't to update certain fields like number of years and months each year and they update automatically.

Highlights

I knew SQL was the way to go with making my website a hybrid between project showcase and blog posts. To test this out I converted my Highlights page to be populated automatically with SQL. I used this as a testbench to try different SQL fields to better control the php code to cater to different styles required.

SQL Blog Posts

Until a few months before this post, my website has been static and all posts were either written in individual files using HTML. In order to move towards a blog approach I moved all text of my blog posts to an SQL server with my hosting platform. Using the success of the highlights page, I made 1 generic page to capture all blog posts and I added .htaccess file to make sure that the URL extension is passed in to my SQL query to obtain my blog post from the database.

When this worked, it sparked so many ideas to make this website as user friendly as possible. Each post on the database has a project field which keeps track of which category of posts it will belong to. Using this field I am able to automatically populate the titles on the Portfolio page under each project category without adding them manually. This also means that if you open any of those posts, you will be able to see all related posts / all posts which share the same field at the end of the post.

However, for my benefit I have added 1 page where I can view all my blog posts and chose to edit them if required.

I was also able to add javascript to my Portfolio page to load all my blog posts depending on how much the user would scroll down.

Log In Page

Now that making blog posts is very easy and does not require the creation of new files, I made a log in page for me where I can access the editor. This is a hidden page where other users cannot access. Even if they do, it is password protected with suitable encription.

Using this page, I am able to create or edit any blog post on the fly. I do not have to log in to my hosting site to change anything. This brings me ever so close to blogger. At the time of taking these images I had not added an HTML editor to my page. However, now there is a built in HTML editor where it can automatically convert all my posts directly to HTML syntax.

I am also able to directly upload images to the website and reference them from the editor.

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