I need to learn PHP and databases. If I had those skills, I would be so much
more succesful with my web designs. What I usually do, is make the html
templates, and then hire someone, usually expensively, to do the PHP and
MySQL bankend.

Unfortunately, my programming skill is ZERO. Ok, maybe not zero, I do have a
little bit of PERL experience, but it mainly comes in the form of
downloading prewritten scripts, and lots of trial and error in editing them
using common sense and drawing on my experience of BASIC which I learned
when I was 6 years old!

I have browsed hours on the net looking for help in this sort of thing. I
have downloaded programs, I have read hours of documents and "manuals", and
still, I am no further along than where I started. Programming and databases
are more of a mystery to me than women are. I'm absolutely CLUELESS.

So basically, I need to learn this stuff as soon as humanly possible, but I
have NO IDEA where to start. Let me tell you first what I have done thusfar.

First thing I did was download something called mySQL Max version 3.23.49
directly from the website of mysql. I was under the impression that this
program would be something along the lines of MS Access in the standpoint of
user interface, and it would allow you to create tables etc. (I do know how
to create some rudimentary tables in MS Access). So after I installed this
program, I clicked on the icon to start it, and to my surprise, the only
thing that happened was the an MS-Dos box popped up for about 2/10ths of a
second and then disappeared. So to me it was a waste of 2 hours of

After a bit more of prodding I saw that there was some configuring to do.
For the life of me, I have no idea where to look, and even if I did, I
wouldnt have any idea what I need to configure anyways. Basically I want to
have this installed so that during my learning process of PHP, I can test
and run things on my local machine, and not have to connect to the internet,
upload files etc.

Secondly, I downloaded something similar, called Easy PHP. The website said
it would install this and that and then something else that would allow you
to run PHP scripts on your local machine as well as being an editor to help
you write scripts. So I downloaded this as well. So 27 MB and 3 hours later
I have yet another useless program with no interfaces nothing. Just
something that runs in the background.

So now I talked with my roommate and explained these issues to him. He
pointed me to a software called CodeCharge. So I downloaded that and spent
hours looking through the "templates" and what not, and although I can see
this is a step in the right direction, it still leaves me with more
questions than answers. It wants me to specify DNS or ODBC or ASPI etc etc
and I have no clue what that is, what it means or what is does.

Furthermore I see no way to use existing html files that I have created as
templates. Just existing ugly templates that come with the software. I'm
sure there is a way to do that, but I haven't figured it out.

So what are my questions? Basically want to do is create sets of HTML
templates for various sections of sites. Then using the templates, code the
PHP to pull the correct information from a database, manipulate it, and then
return it together with templates. For example. On this a site that I am now
working on, there is a section that will contain headlines to various news
stories. In the HTML it looks something like this:

<A HREF="1.htm">HEADLINE</A><BR>

All this would simply create is something that looks like this Below:

September 12, 2002

Obviously clicking the headline would take you to another page that would
give you the entire story. To me, drawing on common sense, what you are
really saying is this:


Makes sense no? So really for this template, it would use 2 sections from
the database: "Headline" and "Date" and the PHP tells the server where to
put what depending on which templates is being used

I don't want to drag this on, but in other words for these sites that I am
creating there are basically 1 thing that I need to accomplish.

#1 is that I need a "control panel" that is somewhere that I can go to any
computer and log in to. When I do that I can log-in and that will bring me
to and ADD/EDIT/DELETE form for any section of the site, and if I go to add,
then I will type the various bits of info into it, click submit and
automatically that info is added to the database. The edit and delete
features are self explanatory, but the end result is simply saying that OK,
now I've entered the info into the database, Now, Mr. Server and Mr. PHP
when the time comes for this info to be used, you have the info.

To me this isn't brain science in concept, but I have no friggin idea where
to start. So? Where do I start?

Ok, so hopefully you've read with me so far. And I do appreciate it as
always. So now, let me pose my actual questions.

Creating a mysql database:
#1 What do I have to install on my machine to be able to eventually run the
scripts on my local machine? Where can I find it?
#2 How do I set it up?
#3 Is there a software that has a user interface such as MS Access that
creates the actual database? If so, where can I find it? If not, how do you
actually create the database?

PHP scripting
I have downloaded various "manuals". The one I've seen most mentioned is the
one at PHP.net, so that is the one I have. I can understand certian parts of
it. But it's all in PHP speak. What I need to learn first, is knowing when
to use what. Look at this code below:

class news
var $entries;
function news($disp)
global $news, $news;
$tp = fopen($news['template'], 'r');
$loop_code = fread($tp, 4096);
$count = 0;
$this->entries = '';
foreach ($news as $entry) {
$data = explode('||', $entry);
$data[1] = date($news['tformat'], $data[1] + $news['toffset'] * 3600);
$this->entries .= $loop_code;
$this->entries = str_replace('{timestamp}', $data[1], $this->entries);
$this->entries = str_replace('{author}', $data[2], $this->entries);
$this->entries = str_replace('{authoremail}', $data[3], $this->entries);
$this->entries = str_replace('{subject}', $data[4], $this->entries);
$this->entries = str_replace('{body}', $data[5], $this->entries);
if ($disp != 'all') {
if ($count == $disp) {

To me it's just a jumble of characters. Why are things indented? Why are
some things inside quotes and others not. What is a global variable? What
does parse mean? etc etc. Some many questions...

I do know what a variable is, and I know that the above coding is just
basically manipulating them. I have managed to "write" one simple script,
borrowing some code from a prewritten script that will take the contents of
a 5 field html form and print them in a text file like so:

|match date|match time|Home team|Away team|match result

So I managed to figure out what fopen(), fread(), fwrite() and fclose() are.
So now that I have this text file on the server, I want to be able to
manipulate the info between the | character. If I can figure out how to do
that, I can learn the syntaxes and coding functions fairly quickly.

I know using an editor is "cheating" in a sense, but I also know that I can
learn the same way I learned BASIC when I was 6. By deconstructing the code.
I really need to learn this stuff. I have no idea where to start and it's
really making me lose time and money. I don't want anyone to hold my hand
and do it for me, I need to know where to start. I have no idea what to do,
but downloading MB after MB of software that doesn't teach me anything isn't
going to help me get to where I need to be. Honestly I think I can learn
this fairly quickly with just a little bit of guidance. It's tough when you
go to a PHP channel on IRC and all they tell you is "read the F*****G
manual!". I just don't want to be fiddling with SSI and text replacers for
the rest of my life, if you know what I mean.

Anyone who has any thoughts, please reply via email or this forum. I
sincerely appreciate it.

Chad in Florence, Italy [EMAIL PROTECTED]

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