I work on Yahoo Store on a nearly
daily basis, and the way they do things works fairly well. You have a set
of templates which you can apply to items in the database. On the edit
side you can click through the pages, and they are generated dynamically
so it's possible to edit them and get instant feedback. You can also not worry
about testing things out because only you can see them.
in reply to Database driven web content: live or tape?
When you are ready to publish, it runs anything that has changed (I'm
pretty sure every row in the database has a flag to let the system know
if it has been modified) through the templates to generate static html. This
reduces server load and tends to be more more search engine friendly.
This model seems to work well, and I'm sure implementing something
along these lines would give you the best of both worlds.