EdmontonBroadcasters.com is powered by Open Source software, a concept that sees software developed and maintained by volunteers so that the software can be used worldwide without charge. Web hosting is donated by the Club’s webmaster.
WordPress is the primary piece of Open Source software used on our web site. Originally meant strictly for Blogging, by the end of 2008, when the Club website was converted to WordPress, it had already become a practical way to create complete web sites. Our webmaster has custom-programmed some additional Infrastructure for WordPress, to make it easier to use for both traditional and database-driven web sites.
The redesign and merger of EdmontonBroadcasters.com and the Edmonton Broadcasters Club web site is based on a database-driven approach employing the most widely used Open Source (free) software available anywhere in the world. The advantages are many:
- Information is separated from Appearance, allowing the Look and Feel of the web site to change with minimal changes to the Information (text, pictures, audio, video) itself;
- Entering Information requires very little concern for, or even knowledge of, the format of the Information, opening up the possibility of sharing the responsibility for adding or changing Information, with minimal knowledge or training;
- A single piece of Information can be used in different places in different ways, without replicating it, reducing effort and potential errors;
- Updated information is available immediately, rather than awaiting the rigorous Quality Assurance process associated with changes in Design;
- Everything needed to change the web site is stored on the web site, not on someone’s home computer, as is normally the case with traditional web site design tools like FrontPage;
- External information can be integrated into the web site without replicating the information, which would require constant monitoring to synchronize updates of that information from the external source to our web site.
Two Databases and a Style Sheet
MySQL is the database used to store the information on this web site. This is divided into two databases:
- Basic information on Club members and Radio and TV stations, including links to external sites, that you see on this site; and
- Club member biographies, catalogues of pictures, audio and video, php programming to extract and format information from the first database, and the HTML code to format informational pages such this, which are stored by WordPress in its database.
Although not technically a database, Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) are used for many of the same reasons. For example, the font (“type face”) used on this web site is specified once in the CSS file, yet it controls every piece of text used on the web site, including the words you are reading right now.
This web site would not exist without Open Source software. Open Source is a concept of free software, created and supported by volunteers — individuals, non-profit organizations and for-profit corporations with other sources of revenue — with the programs that make up the software freely available for review by anyone. Without it, our software costs would be just too expensive.
We use Open Source software for this web site in three ways:
- WordPress and a small number of independently developed WordPress Plugins deliver the functionality of this web site to you and your computer’s web browser;
- Linux, MySQL, php and countless other pieces of software are installed on our web host, and are required to make WordPress function;
- NotePad++, FileZilla, Audacity, ExactAudioCopy.de, XnView and OpenOffice.org are used by our webmaster to build this web site.