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I have been writing static html sites for years, but now I have a client who wants something BIG, which is outside my experience... :) :dance:


I think I need some advice about what to learn, use, or buy...


Here is the project: to make an online directory of all the members of a certain group worldwide. Estimated number: 20,000. Will need individual pages with paragraph of text, about 10 fixed data fields, contact data and photo. Alphabetical index. Regional index. In addition, an online form for the 20,000 people to enter the above information, which will hopefully make its way to the database and webpages after my approval and editing, without additional work.


From what I can gather from your posts, this should be a simple task for a PHP script with database. Unfortunately- have never worked with anything like this. Also- I would rather not learn php scripting from A to Z at this time :dance:


Can you point me in the right direction? Free scripts would be nice, but will also consider purchasing something reliable and time-saving.


Thank You!




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Hi nablusi,


Honestly what you ask of us in these forums is a pretty tall order.


The knowledge that you need to accomplish your task is:


At least one web programming language (PHP and perl are both offered here at TCH)

CGI (the interface between your program and web pages)

mySQL (the database option offered here at TCH)

SQL (Structured Query Language - the database communication language)

And how to tie all these things together to make them work.


If this is more of a long term goal for you, the best way is to start reading. I personally use many resources from O'Reilly publishers that offer a books that teach about all these items.


I hope I'm not bursting your bubble. It's not an impossible task. It's just going to take time to read, learn and apply all that you want to know to accomplish these things.


If you have specific questions or issues after you are engaged in your project, maybe then it will be easier for us to give you a more directed response.


Good luck my friend! :)


(PS - I should add that I don't know of a ready-made script that would accomplish what you are looking for. Possibly there is someone here who knows of one.)

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PHP and SQL will take you where you want to go unless you want to add some perl and cgi scripting. I have found that over the last year I can do all my form processing with a very basic knowledge of PHP whether it is to email the form content to someone or send the data off to a database. Dreamweaver makes it very easy to present the data from the Mysql database onto a web page. I don't use Go Live (from Adobe) or FrontPage (Microsoft) however they probably work fine as well. Again do some reading first. I know that those with alot of experience probably prefer to by pass these programs but for beginners, they really speed things up.


Take a weekend and go to the library and browse the book mentioned above. Then go out and buy one of the many books on PHP (most include a section or two on database connectivity as well). You will want a book as reference. You can get help from http://www.php.net/ which is the best resource however I find that I have to know what I am looking for here. I still find it hard to understand the many explanations on this site unless I have a basic understanding first of what I am looking for.


PHP has really made my life much easier.


Just my 2 cents worth, good luck.



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For a ready-made program, take a look at Expression Engine. I've never actually used it--just looked at the trial version--but from what I remember it was more customizable than the others I looked at. I think with any ready-made CMS you're going to have to deal with some compromises--having 20,000 users sign up for the CMS and/or having them email the form to you and not directly to the database (unless you hack a form into it, where they can submit directly to the database), but at least EE lets you set up custom fields--it might make editing things after they get in the database easier.


Take a look, anyway. They offer a free trial version, so you can set it up and see if it would work or not before you decide to buy it.

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To all the friends who responded:


Thank you for your advice- looks like the consensus is that there is no shortcut to wisdom :D :blink: :blink: :blink:


The idea seemed simple to me:


A data base with 10 fields.

Which generates individual web pages.

And also generates alphabetical and regional index.

An online form to fill the 10 fields into the database.

An editing function to allow manual approval/editing of form contents.


The static HTML part I can write, just have to grasp the php-database part...


I guess not everything that I can diagram automatically creates itself :(


Again- thanks for the advice, and will welcome additional comments/ suggestions as well.



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You can pickup the Dummies series book called PHP & MySQL as a start. I find it to be quite informative for the beginner.


That's exactly what I did, and surprisingly, this book is great. The chapter on session variables sucks, but for the rest, it's more than ok. I don't think you should have a lot of trouble building what you're talking about in your post. Also, the phpMyAdmin service you have in your cPanel will save you a lot of time building the required tables for your project. Good luck!

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