integrating a web page to a database

  saleem-225112 12:21 27 Aug 03

i need some guidence on the best way to set up a web page linked to a database,enabling customers to access relevent information through the web page from the database.the database will be continuely being up dated on a weekly bases with new information.i have a limited knowledge of frontpage and microsoft access.
are there any commercialy available packages out there than can perform the functions i need ,or will i have to do it my self,if it's not too complicated,or have it designed by a professional.i have asked a programmer who has told me it's quite difficult to as it needs someone who is familiar with web page design and database design

  zoomer 13:27 27 Aug 03

dont know about commercial applications but its really not that difficult, PHP/MySQL for Dummies is a good start though Wrox "Beginning PHP" is better.If you learn this you can also update the database via a web page, cool eh?. Also you could password protect the page and allow only users you decree to update the database.

  Taran 14:18 27 Aug 03

FrontPage and Access are fine when paired for dynamic websites, but you need to have a very firm grasp of database design and implementation, a better than average understanding of database security and a web host that will support FrontPage ASP pages and Access database(s).

Dreamweaver, FrontPage, Namo Web Editor and NetObjects Fusion (among others) all make the database connection process quite painless for you. The trouble will come when you try and pull information out onto a web page, or input via a database management page which is locked off from common view using username/password combinations.

This is a very big subject and possibly beyond the scope of this forum. While I am more than willing to help with specifics, writing a walk-through is impossible, purely because I have no idea of your database structure (the tables, fieldnames, data types and so on) or the information you would like to display or the queries you would like to run to pull recordsets out into a web page.

To get you started you can consult the FrontPage helpfiles which have a good overview of the processes involved. You could also go to Google and use this as your search field, including the quote marks:

"frontpage"+"access"+database tutorial

If you get stuck with specifics, come back and post details of the issues but, as I've already said, this is a very big subject and dynamic sites are usually where most people are better served calling in professional help.

Regarding PHP/MySQL or ASP/Access or any other combination for that matter, this is an age old argument and a rather pointless one in most cases. I have an overall preference for PHP/MySQL but if you already have Access and are quite familiar with it I see no reason to go out and beat yourself up trying to start from scratch with a new language and underlying system. Stick with what you know for now.

FrontPage, especially version 2002, has some fantastic features for designing dynamic pages without the requirement for programming skills, if you bother to look for them and learn them. I'd stick with Access/FrontPage at the moment if you are dead set on trying this yourself, or consider going over to MySQL/PHP if you call in a professional developer. They will be able to mirror the contents of your tables to reflect the Access file, as well as set up secure pages to update the database online and so on.

Access too, has the ability to create either simple HTML pages or more secure ASP pages to use your database online. Check out the helpfiles in Access using the words 'publish' or 'internet' in the index search.

This could go on and on (and I probably would given half the chance) but it's just too big an overall subject to say you do A, B, C, D and all will be well.

I'd be interested to see how you get along with it. Keep us posted.

Best of luck.


  Forum Editor 20:17 27 Aug 03

that Taran has said. This is the one area of web site design that brings many people to a screeching halt.

The new version of FrontPage - FP 2003 has now gone to production, and will be in the shops shortly. It's far and away the best version yet, and it has some stunning new capabilities as far as dynamic interaction with data sources go.

I suggest that you search for tutorials on the subject, and experiment. By all means come back here for advice on specifics, but a complete tutorial is, as Taran suggests, far too involved for a forum thread.

  AndySD 20:41 27 Aug 03

Again I have to agree with Taran.

I have started to learn PHP/MYSQL a few weeks ago.... with a good book recomended to me....but its a new subject for me and I can see its going to take a little time (facinating though).

  zoomer 21:29 27 Aug 03

I am assuming the questioner was asking to simply be able to insert data into a database and also be able to extract it and display it on a web page in the desired format.
I`m not the most gifted or naturally "computer minded" but I managed to do this (albeit in a relatively simple manner)in less than a month, and at that I had other things to do as well.Once the basic concepts are grasped its only the mechanical laborious minutaie of code syntax that holds you back.
and anyway phpmyadmin does all the questioner asks....maybe I`m completely misunderstanding the question though....:=) ,
Andy, get easyphp(sets up Apache and PHP/MySQL on your PC, I fund this out after setting up Apache etc with Linux+command line+SQL queries+creating database etc)or another similar (cant remember the name of it right now)and you can learn on your PC

  Taran 02:33 28 Aug 03

Nobody was saying that you are or were wrong in your book or platform recommendations. As I said, my own overall preference is for MySQL/PHP, but to someone who points out that they have a 'limited knowledge of frontpage and microsoft access' the option of going with a completely unknown platform as opposed to one that is at least partially familiar is impractical to say the least.

At the end of the day there isn't much you can do with MySQL/PHP that you can't achieve with Access/ASP for general purposes, or any one of several other database platforms for that matter.

In fact, there are certain criteria I often encounter which more or less dictates an online Access solution. You have to keep in mind that no matter how efficient the MySQL/PHP combination is, to someone already familiar with Access, Filemaker, Alpha Five, Approach (or whatever other database platform) it is just so much gobbledygook.

Online databases are one area (possibly above all others) where a specialist is worth paying for.

The security implications alone of having a data store online with personal, customer, company or any other information that is not correctly locked down is a scary prospect and also leaves the site owner wide open to prosecution in the event of an information leak through negligence or incompetence.

The database also needs to be regularly updated on a weekly basis which again would steer you more towards a platform that the user is at least partially familiar with, or a drop dead easy to use control panel along the lines of MySQL Admin, but with pre-programmed queries to convert the updated Access tables on the client machine into appendable information for the MySQL database (if you chose that route) to accept.

I do a lot of online databases in most common formats but even so, I still sometimes call in outside help for certain projects where certain individuals of my aquaintance have a far more in-depth knowledge of particular areas than I do.

The whole point is to present relevant online information in a safe and controlled way and this is not something to undertake lightly.

I agree that learning MySQL/PHP is useful, not necessarily too difficult (up to a point) and has many benefits, not least is that most web hosting packages already feature MySQL/PHP support. Knowing a bit of MySQL and PHP is not the same as being a capable web application developer though, and as I've mentioned, in terms of security risks a DIY solution suddenly becomes less attractive.

Best regards


  zoomer 08:45 28 Aug 03

agree absolutely, for *proper* business grade applications I wouldnt rely on my cobbled together effort,I was thinking perhaps wrongly that the solution the questioner was asking for was merely for displaying an updated repository of data.
The thought of building a web application for a corporate customer is beyond me, the thought of it scares me...:=).
I still feel though that it is a valid point to make to people that inserting and retrieving data and displaying it via a web interface (up to a point as you say)is relatively easy.
As always your posts are well thought out and measured and above all accurate. Any jobs for an err... mature, degree student summer next year?

  Taran 10:04 28 Aug 03

Regarding the fishing expedition I'm afraid not, I shan't be hiring - but I admire the tactful approach...


On a serious note I must get asked at least once a week every week for employment opportunities, especially from web designers. It's a sad fact that the market place is becoming more and more saturated as time goes on.

We shall have to wait for more input from tiger moto regarding their actual needs/wishes. I will agree that getting information in and out of an online database can be simplified up to a point, but the more you simplify it the less likely it is to meet certain minimum security criteria.

We're going around in circles with no more information to work with. As I first said, the subject is just far too big for a definitive answer or tutorial, especially with the limited amount of information we have to work with.

Best regards


  zoomer 10:32 28 Aug 03

yes,but an interesting discourse nonetheless ..:=)

incidentally I wouldnt for a minute claim to be a web designer, though I probably enjoy that niche more than my chosen degree discipline which is networking,which hopefully will still offer reasonable employment opportunities.

  Forum Editor 19:35 28 Aug 03

and I'm beginning to think that colleges aren't doing some people many favours. It doesn't make a great deal of sense to carry on pumping out web designers when there is a surfeit of them in the market already.

The web design business has evolved beyond all recognition in the past five years. Back then you could almost name your price, there was such a demand. Everyone wanted a web site, and no company worth its salt was complete without a 'corporate presence' dotcom site.

That bubble burst long ago, and like all baby industries web designing is growing up fast. You need to be good at it to attract new business, and if possible you need an edge - another skillset.

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