Building a dynamic site – Part 2

Continuing from “Building a dynamic site Part 2”, this article will go over building the php script that will take your page from the database, and insert it into the template, and output it to the user.

If you forgot to make a template, go back now and create one. Below is the PHP code we will be using to make our dynamic site:

$global_dbh = mysql_connect("localhost","username","password");
mysql_select_db("mydatabasename", $global_dbh);

$query = "SELECT * FROM `pages` WHERE `PID`=’$id’";
$result = mysql_query($query, $global_dbh);
$row = mysql_fetch_array($result);

$file = file_get_contents("template.txt");

$file = str_replace("##TITLE##", $row["Title"], $file);
$file = str_replace("##BODY##", $row["Body"], $file);

echo $file;

This is simply the opening PHP tag. It tells the server that what follows is PHP.

$global_dbh = mysql_connect("localhost","username","password");

This creates a connection to the MySQL server, and assigns a handle to $global_dbh. Simply replace username and password with your username and password for MySQL.

mysql_select_db("mydatabasename", $global_dbh);

This tells MySQL which database you’ll be using. Change mydatabasename to your actual database name.

$query = "SELECT * FROM `pages` WHERE `PID`='$id'";

This is the MySQL query we are going to be using. When we access the script its going to be page.php?id=## – The number is the Page ID used in the database.

$result = mysql_query($query, $global_dbh);

This line actually runs the query on the MySQL server.

$row = mysql_fetch_array($result);

This line takes the table row that was selected in the previous line, and assigns it as an array to $row

$file = file_get_contents("template.txt");

This gets the contents of your template file.

$file = str_replace("##TITLE##", $row["Title"], $file);

This inserts the TITLE of the page where you put ##TITLE## in your template.

$file = str_replace("##BODY##", $row["Body"], $file);

This inserts the BODY of the page where you put ##BODY## in your template.

echo $file;

This outputs the results to the browser


This tells the server that the PHP code has ended.

This script is very simple, but you should be able to get the idea and add more rows to your database, and more variables into the template. Just keep adding more replace lines.

In “Building a dynamic site – Part 3” we will go over how to create an index page that links to all your pages in your database.

Building a dynamic site – Part 1

Just about every large website is backed by some kind of database. In this series I’ll go over how to build your very own website that is powered by PHP and MySQL.

First you’ll need to make sure you have the following:
– Text Editor (notepad)
– PHP4, MySQL database
– phpMyAdmin

When building a dynamic site, there are a few key differences from a static website. In a static website, when someone requests a page the server sends the file back. With a dynamic site the server first grabs the information from a database, and then sticks it into a template, and then sends the file back.

The best part of going dynamic is being able to make changes to a single template, and instantly all the pages are updated. The downside is that databases use more resources. However this shouldn’t stop you from going dynamic!

The first step is creating the actual database table. For simplicity sake we are going to store the title and body into a table, and have MySQL auto-assign a Page ID to each page.

CREATE TABLE `pages` (

Copy and paste the code above into phpMyAdmin’s SQL query text box. This will create the database table for our tutorial.

The next step will be creating a template for our dynamic site. Since we are going simple, we will go with a simple template too:


Notice the tags we inserted, ##TITLE##, and ##BODY##. These are our place holders for the data inside the database.

In a real life dynamic site, we would have tables, menus, and such with the ##BODY## tag being in the center table cell where all the content goes. Feel free to make yours more impressive than mine.

Name the template file “template.txt”.

In “Creating a dynamic site – Part 2” we’ll start building the PHP page that will display the final result. Until then, start creating some pages using phpMyAdmin. To do so, select the table ‘pages’ from the left menu, and click ‘Insert’ on the top of the right page.