Database driven website

(Lance Harris) #1

I’ve read quite a bit here re WP vs RW and that WP is good for med to large sites and RW for the lower end.
I don’t really agree with that as RW has all the good stuff to make most sites look and operate well.

The one area that seems to be missing with RW is database driven stacks.
There is one, StackApps, that has a lot of components to work with databases however the developer has ceased work on it and compatibility issues are now creeping in with new versions of RW and Stacks.

Nearly all my sites have a db driven element… be it menus for restaurants, price lists for hairdressers, member details for clubs, etc, etc, etc.
And generally I build an admin console for the client which means db inserts, updates and deletes.

Am I a minority user with this setup?
I would have thought a lot of sites would have this need.

So my question is “is anyone looking to fill this void in RW or should I be looking at a different platform for db driven sites?”


(Rob Beattie) #2

I don’t know about member details for clubs but I would have thought price lists and menus were perfect applications for one of the simple CMS stacks/plugins available for Rapidweaver. I’m currently developing one such site using Total CMS from Joe Workman. It’s very good.

(Paul Russam) #3

Either Easy or TotalCMS from JoeWorkman is (in my opinion) what you’re looking for, which one you choose is based on your requirements but I’ve managed to drive 2sites using EasyCMS with all the content (that might need editing) being editable.
I’m in the process of doing a much more complex one with TotalCMS and my approach is exactly the same but with more tools/options to play with.

One of the biggest boons with either Easy or Total is the ability to design your own admin page(s) just as you would any other stacks page. You can even have 2(or more) admin pages that affect the same content, for example you could have an master admin page that enabled a user to edit all the available content on a site (inc the restaurant menus) and a second admin page that allowed another user to ONLY edit the ‘today’s specials’ section of the menus.
You could even design the second page to be specifically used on a phone thus making changes the the menu a doddle from anywhere.

(Lance Harris) #4

Thanks @robbeattie and @PaulRussam for your comments.

I agree there are some instances when a CMS will do the job however for the sites I am working on it won’t do and in my humble opinion it is a large void in the RapidWeaver / Stacks offering.

For instance… the hairdresser price list would work fine until he asked for a client (customer) tracking system.
He wants to keep track of customers details, purchases and other bits like their hair colour etc.
Clearly a CMS system will full short here. Yes there are off the shelf but they are hideously expensive.

Another is the sporting club I am building a site for. They want membership records and to keep track of scores for the members. They need the ability for members to be able to login and update their details, change or reset their password and view their previous scores. And have an admin site to manage it all.
Now I don’t think any of the CMS stacks you have suggested will handle that.

I’m not looking for a work around and sadly StackApps would have met most of my needs however as it is no longer supported I will end up writing a lot of my own code for the sites I am building.

Hence my question is anyone looking or thinking of building db stacks or maybe picking up StackApps and bringing it back? I would happily pay for it if it were a paid app.

(Rob Beattie) #5

Of course, if you need to track customers like that you need some sort of database functionality. There could be something on Code Canyon that might do the trick. That sort of stuff is usually relatively easy to integrate into RW.

(Joe Williams) #6

Do you do website design or know someone who does?

(Lance Harris) #7

Hi @joewilly11,

I do a bit here and there but not professionally.
My clients are friends, acquaintances or organisations I am associated with.

I’m sure if you put out a general call in RealMac forums for a full time web developer you will get plenty of responses.


(Paul Russam) #8

I only do sites for friends and family, my day job consumes far to much time for me to do anything webwise commercially.
If you post a new message on the forum with a little detail of what you’re looking to have created then I’m sure you’ll receive some responses.

(Steve Jenkins) #9

(Lance Harris) #10

Hi @jenkman,

Thanks for the link however I already have the Kuler set.
Only allows displaying of db content… no editing.


(Jason Hawke) #11

Lance - I have to agree with you here. I used StackApps for a customer site a few years ago, and planned to use it again for a online application form, but as it’s not responsive at all, it didn’t work mobile devices without creating multiple pages. The kuler product is for viewing only, so not useful for capturing data. I finally went with FormSnap to collect data, but it’s not robust enough for what you want to do because it won’t SHOW data.

If I had any ability to creating MySQL/PHP calls I’d try it myself but I really wish there were something out there. This is one of those things that would probably cost more than your “average” stack, but it would be worth quite a bit.

(Lance Harris) #12

Thanks @jthawke

I have continued to use StackApps but quite often have to add a lot of my own php to get the functionality I want. I’m not great at php but can do enough to get things running.

I’m hoping someone might pick up StackApps, modernise and clean it up and offer it as a paid app.
I put it to Joe Workman but he wasn’t interested.

(Mathew Mitchell) #13

@Lance I really can’t see any developer picking up these stacks (whereas I can see a developer picking up the Loghound stacks). These are very specialized stacks, probably demanding a lot of support. And it would be a relative nightmare for a developer if too many newcomers tried these stacks: I have to imagine the support requests would be overwhelming. These were/are a very inventive set of stacks. I hope I’m wrong and someone does take them on, but it’s hard to imagine at this point.

(Lance Harris) #14

Very good point @Mathew about the support.

The developer (Helmuth) was very supportive when I had questions but I can see there would be issues for him with newcomers.

But in saying that and along the lines of @jthawke’s comments, I think that if it was cleaned up and support offered and it was in the high price range then it could be a win / win.

But hopefully not a per site license fee! Hate that concept.

If I was a bit more skilled and had a bit more time on my hands I would grab it.

(Stuart) #15

Hi @Lance

Based on the use cases you describe I start thinking about using PHP with a MySQL database. Neither of those examples sound too hairy, I bet you’d find it easier than you think to put together some forms to CRUD a local db and pass the information back into your page. I mean what would be the delta between learning StackApps (how to use them through to possibly how to get them working again, if they are broken) and learning enough PHP to do it yourself?

A good thing about learning the skills needed to do this is that they are an investment in you - not a stack which could be dropped and those skills are transferable to whatever platform/build methodology you like, you are not married to stacks or RW.

(Lance Harris) #16

Hi @kryten,

Thanks for the encouraging words.

I am happy cutting code however I came to the RW space because it looked like I could save myself lots of time by dropping stacks in and getting nice websites running.

And I was really happy when I started using StackApps as I like db driven sites. To me it’s like cheese and good wine… they just go together naturally.

What I am finding is that RW is fantastic with sites that need to look good through the nice work of theme developers and while there is some basic functionality in available stacks, once you start thinking a little deeper RW can’t deliver. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not bagging RW but it does have some limitations.

You actually said that the sites I have mentioned don’t sound too hairy… and you are right. I have written the code to get them functional but isn’t it a shame I had to spend lots of time doing that when a nice paid app would have done it for me.

And yes the skills investment is always nice but as I approach my 60th birthday I would rather spend the time on other things :slightly_smiling:

I just hope in the near future the the RW community can see the need for a true db stack.

(Stuart) #17


If I may say so, I think you make your point extremely well.

Glad you got it working :slight_smile:

(Chris Handley) #18

I hate to admit it, but I do wish there was a database solution for RW. I’ve had to turn down some big opportunities, because I’m more of a designer that can use RW to design and develop sites. I don’t have any desire to write code.

That said, has anyone looked into They have affordable PHP scripts that I assume you can copy and paste into HTML stacks of your RW site. They claim to offer to help you get the database installed on your site via FTP. If you know enough about PHP, you can edit their scripts to make them more robust.

I have a community site that requires a good database solution. I’m doing research now and it looks like I would need to hire someone to customize the PHPJabber scripts to get it to work right. Unfortunately, I may have to ditch RW for this project and go with a cheesy, canned platform with it’s own site builder with lots of database and online payment options for $70/month.

(scott williams) #19

@chris123, just an fyi - PHPJabbers will also modify the code for you and give you a price up front.
I have purchased from them before, they use their own framework to organize an build their software, takes a little time to figure out where everything is but not too bad. Not much in the way of comments in their code though from what I’ve seen.

(Chris Handley) #20

@swilliam, good point that I forgot to mention. I hope to receive a quote from them today. It’s taking longer than a day to get a quote from them, but my request requires several scripts to integrate. My concern is that they may be a challenge when it comes to support, which I expect I’ll need.

Am I right in guessing that all I have to do is paste their php code into a HTML stack after they help me get their stuff installed on the server database?