How to set that title tag?

I’m in that place in developing my new site that I have to decide how I will manage the inclusion of pages, and there is a problem what I’ve really never bother about before. How to change the title tag in HTML the best possible way. This is a must for several reasons. First off, it makes the SEO(Search Engine Optimisation) better by giving a descriptive title to the page that show up in results. Secondly, most browsers now use tabbed browsing and to se on the tab what page it is you are on is a good thing.

Now, I have to tell that I do not use frameworks – mainly because I want to learn stuff myself first – so even thou they probably have implemented a good solution, I still need to fine one myself that will satisfy my needs and make the programming part good.

The problem might not be a big problem, but it is really a good example on why a good design should be implemented. The way I have done it before is simply to have one title for each page – because the title is in the header, and the header was an HTML file I included at the top of the php. Easy fix is to add some php that gets the page attribute from the url, and then does an if else on every page to give the right title. The problem is, this is an if else, or switch, that you then probably have to implement a lot of times in the code – for example to find out which menu item you are currently on – and makes the code unneccessary hard to read. The rule of making most of the logic in a underlaying architectural layer should apply.

So, the solution then? Well, I tell you my simple plan that is under developement.

I’m going to make the page a PHP Object, (pseudocode) like this:

$page = new Page($_GET['page']);

The “?page=user” is set in as an attribute to the page object. The same is done with the id=1, and other attributes if they exists. Then when the page is printed the header is put together.


printHTML() is using the self::getHeader and self::getBody to build the complete HTML wrapped in Should Body and Header be Objects too?
Should Footer, mainBody, navBar, Logo, sideBar be objects as well?

To be honest, I really don’t know how far I will make it – but I do se a pattern that every changeable part of the design should be objects – so that they can be built on they own. Especially Header, Body and sideBar(that is a part of the body). This is a bit out of scope right now, but the point is to make a design that is object-oriented right to the core, making the attributes on the object decide what HTML to include, and then present it the right way.

Back to the title, lets imagine we have a simple Page object with a simple all in one getHTML() function. This then contain the following simplified code:

return ''.self::getTitle().''.self::getBody().'';

The getTitle() function should do something like this:

$title = 'Sitename - '.$this->page; //User
$user = new User($this->id);
$user->get(); //Get the user from database
$title .= ' - '.$user->getName();
return $title;

This is not the code I’m going to use, it’s just to show the logic. I think this approach gives good practise in programming an OO(Object Oriented) way, and hopefully makes the site flexible too.

Does this make any sense at all?

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