Technology Platform

This document lists the technologies deployed on Folkstreams.

Pages in the new site are generated on demand by the PHP embedded scripting language. The information is displayed on pages is drawn from a MySQL database. The Smarty template engine is used to combine information from the database with standard templates. Smarty is an open source project by some of the main PHP developers and is fully integrated into the PHP environment. The Apache webserver provides an efficient and flexible open source solution, which integrates PHP through mod_php and URL rewriting through mod_rewrite. (This is the basic LAMP configuration). The GD graphics library is also employed in the folkstreams administration.


Apache is currently the most widely deployed web server in the world. It is an open source project and highly efficient and proven very reliable. We use Apache modules mod_php and mod_rewrite to our advantage.

URL Rewriting

mod_rewrite is the Apache module supporting URL rewriting. We use URL rewriting to create a clear, concise and stable URL space for the Folkstreams site. Instead of long complicated URL/URIs, locations on our site are short and comprehensible. By rewriting URLs, locations gain a level of permanency, protecting against "link rot." Another advantage of URL-rewriting is that it provides a stable, standardized set of URLs for the application so that if necessary application "script names" and URL-parameter formats can be changed "underneath the hood" without affecting URL references in templates, bookmarks or on other websites. These changes can be made transparently behind the scenes.


Film transcripts are enhanced by the standard Overlib package allowing transcript notes to be displayed over the text they annotate. Overlib is an open source style, community oriented project to provide a standardized and stable "popup" note system.

Web Administration Area

The Folkstreams catalog and website is administered through n web based online administration system consisting of web pages and forms. To give an idea of how this works, we present some screen shots.

This screen shot is of the form used for editing information about streams. Administrators can login to locate a film, find the streams associated with that particular film to manage (add, edit, etc.) streaming video associated with the meta data in the film catalog. The Folkstreams database can support any number of streams of any format per film.

Future Development

Details on these issues:

Full XHTML compliance is planned. Current prototype pages are derived from existing static, manually authored pages converted to Smarty templates. Internationalization of character encoding is also planned.

A RSS/XML feed of recent additions is being developed in order to keep highly affiliated visitors up to date and create awareness of our films among a wider audience.