Using Ruby on Rails to Create Historical Blog


#1

Hi, everybody.

For a long time I’ve been interested in putting together a blog-like Web
site where I write “posts” on historical events and then the posts are
automatically ordered on the main page by the date of the events that
they describe.

I first had the idea because I thought it would be really easy to just
back-date the posts to historical dates and have them automatically
arranged for me. Turns out this won’t really work in blog applications
I’ve tried (WordPress, Textpattern) because you cant’ use a post date
that is earlier than 1970 – think that’s a PHP issue. Adding custom
fields for the date and then being able to order by them is also proving
to be a pain.

Thus far I know next to nothing about RoR, though I would be excited to
learn if this idea would work on it. Before I spend a lot of time
getting into it, I’m hoping people on the list might just let me know
whether RoR would work well for this idea.

To give you some further information, this is an example of something
like what the main page would like like in an historical blog of World
War II:

1939
Sept. 1: Germany invades Poland [linked to further information on this
in a WP post]
Sept 3: France, UK, New Zealand, Australia, declare war on Germany
[linked…]
Oct. 6: Last Polish army defeated [linked…]

1940
April 9: Germany invades Denmark and Norway [linked…]

[…]

1945
Post war period begins.

If possible, I’d like it to be able to handle really far back dates,
including BC.


#2

The problem is the database’s timestamp. You should use datetime
instead. I’m not
sure if that can handle BC dates though…


#3

You could use a serialized column with a Ruby-date. Ruby dates support
BC:

Date.new(-1100).to_s => -1100-01-01