July 14, 2005

Richard H. Bryan State Office Building

The new Richard H. Bryan State Office Building, which has been under construction for over a year now, had its dedication and official opening today. This new office building is five stories tall and 130,000 square feet. It is located on Stewart Street in Carson City, just north of the NDOT building. I’m kicking off the new AroundCarson Buildings Database with the Bryan Building, so head over there and look at the entry. It’s pretty basic for now, but it does include construction photos from the past fifteen months.

This AroundCarson Buildings Database is something new I’m working on for my site, AroundCarson. I knew when I started this site that I wanted to have a lot of information about Carson City and its historic buildings, but at first I was thinking just static HTML pages. But as I began to work on the Bryan Building to get it ready in time for the dedication, I thought that static HTML wouldn’t be enough. Why not build a database of all the historic, important, and otherwise interesting buildings in Carson City, Minden, Gardnerville, Virginia City, and so on? With a database I could reuse a lot of code, and all the buildings are going to have the same basic information anyway. Name of the building, date built, address, at least one photo. And with a database, I’d be able to sort and display them in many different ways.

So I built one script that pulls building information out of a MySQL database and displays it. I use mod_rewrite to make the ugly URLs look a little better and get rid of the query strings. Also, I made the URLs look like they really belong in my site’s heirarchy. I have a /carsoncity/ folder on my site, and inside of that I’m going to have a lot of static HTML pages about imporant things in Carson City. I also will have carsonvalley and virginiacity folders, and I want each of the building descriptions to look like they’re inside of the folder for the town they’re located in. But I don’t want to duplicate my scripts. So I used mod_rewrite to change a URL like this: http://aroundcarson.com/carsoncity/buildings/bryan into one like this: http://aroundcarson.com/buildings.html?locationid=carsoncity&buildid=bryan. That way, the location directory is still there in the URL, but there only needs to be one script to run the whole database.

Right now there’s just one building, but adding more is as simple as inserting rows into MySQL. Well, not that simple. I have to gather pictures and write copy too. But from a technical side, adding more buildings is simple. Now hopefully I can actually sit down and do it, so the Bryan Building won’t be so lonely in there!

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