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Pete Finnigan's Oracle Security Weblog

This is the weblog for Pete Finnigan. Pete works in the area of Oracle security and he specialises in auditing Oracle databases for security issues. This weblog is aimed squarely at those interested in the security of their Oracle databases.

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Oracle security and content management

I have spent quite a bit of time recently thinking about content management systems that I could use to better manage my website. This has come to be an issue as the site gets larger, blog not included of course as this is already a type of content management system but only for the blog part of my site. Perhaps I have only become more aware of the issue because I have started a blog and have got used to the benefits of being able to change a template and then rebuild all pages that are part of the blog. This means I can have a standard template for all the pages and change it once and then re-generate all the pages. This is of course very useful and is of course used by most big sites already.

I began to think about the issues of adding new pages and new content to the rest of my site a while ago when I added a lot of new pages and menu items. I talked about this is an entry called "A lot of new pages on my site". My menu code is repeated in each page as the site uses tables and not frames therefore any new menu items means an edit to all pages. This is why I added a lot of new pages and menu items in one go..:-(, what I really need is a similar system to weblog software whereby I can use templates for the HTML structure and separate the content out and thereby make changes without needing to manually edit each individual page.

I had an interesting conversation with someone on email a few days before Christmas about this very subject, I thought I would talk about it here as it might be useful to others creating technical sites and also it might give some background to my own site and why it takes me a while to update it. Here is what I said to my friend:

"Yes, this is the key issue for me at present with the site as itís
growing. I also have a huge amount of data and stuff to add to the site
- the main problem is finding time to do it all and do it properly. I
had a look at a few content managers and also thought about blog
software. The blog software is not really suitable though although could
possibly be used although I am not happy to go this way. I have been
planning to write some perl and templates to help me to make adding
content to the main part of the site easier. The blog is of course
already template based so no problem there. I started a perl admin
script recently to do this template based editing but I have not had
time to progress it far. It will do the following basic functions:

  • provide centralised menu for all admin functions

    • backups above and beyond the ISP backups

    • mail list admin

    • forum admin

    • sitemap generation

    • many more....

  • template maintenance and creation

  • define template structure / hierarchy

  • create new web pages

  • edit existing web pages

  • regenerate the site if templates have changed

  • more....

of course this is a simple content management system..:-) - the other
main problems involved is parsing the existing content and extracting
the text in the same format necessary to re-generate pages from
templates. This will also dictate the design of the template mechanism.

This will all take time."

It was suggested to look at mason, which I have done and I have also looked into postnuke, which looks quite good. But with both of these the problem is the learning curve is probably greater than the creation of my own template / perl scripts.

As I said in my above email, it all takes time and itís probably not something that readers of my site will necessarily notice but as its the holiday period and its not really Oracle security specific I thought I might share these thoughts as they might give some insight into my sites workings.