Dude, take small steps, and try to understand what you're doing rather than
jumping in head-on.  Do lots of reading and searching.

1. You need an Apache webserver on your local machine.  There are many good
tutes, pre-compiled .exe's, etc etc on apache.org, and hundreds of tutorials
on it across the web. Ignore PHP and MySQL -- just get apache running, and
try to serve some basic HTML pages to yourself over http:// (NOT file:///).

There is an apache-users list for help with this too.

2. Then try to get PHP working alongside Apache... create some very simple
PHP pages, and try to get them working.  No doubt Apache will need to have
some tweaks to get it going.  PHP IS a background process, NOT a GUI
program.  PHP parses certain webpages (commonly, those a with .php
extension).  Yes, this PHP list will be able to help with the installation.
Personally, I'd download PHP ONLY from php.net, getting a pre-compiled
installer of the latest stable release.

3. THEN try to get MySQL working with PHP and Apache.  Again, this will
require some reconfiguring of PHP and perhaps Apache.  The best way to test
if you've got MySQL set up right would be to install phpMyAdmin.  There is a
mysql mailing list which will be abel to help you with specific MySQL
installation and configuration problems.  Personally, I'd download MySQL
ONLY from mysql.com, getting a pre-compiled installer of the latest stable

4. Install phpMyAdmin (.net or .org i think), which is a web based GUI
interface for MySQL... again, read the documentation and installation
instructions, go slowly, and you should be able to get it fired up, assuming
that MySQL, PHP and Apache are all talking.  There is a mailing list and
forums specifically for installation and configuration of phpMyAdmin.

5. Find some SIMPLE tutorials on programming with PHP and MYSQL... something
like the classic contact database examples on sitepoint.com,
phpbeginner.com, phpbuilder.com, etc etc will be a good start.  Books (yes,
they aren't free) are good too.

6. Spend about a year trying to learn both MySQL and PHP, and you should be
getting pretty good.

There's no way you can expect to achieve what your current programmer's
achieving overnight.  It would appear from your email that you don't have
much/any experience with web servers, server side scripting languages, SQL,
etc etc, and it does take time to get a decent code library and knowledge
base together.

Please do expect this list to be able to help you huge emails covering
20,000 topics -- it's not going to work, and you are not going to become a
php guru overnight.  Take it slowly, preferably working on something
personal, not something client-based with a deadline.  Depending on the
complexity of what you want to achieve, my guess is you'll be comfortable
with using PHP and MYSQL in a client situation in about 3 to 12 months --
NOT a week.  

A bypass for step 1-3 may be an installation package called phpTriad, which
installs Apache, PHP and MySQL with common configurations, supposedly pain
free... although I've never done it... I'm pretty sure there's a windows
version.  Or, pay someone knowledgable and experience to set up all three
for you on your machine.  They are NOT like installing the latest version of
Internet Explorer :)

Good luck,

Justin French

on 12/09/02 6:44 PM, Chad Winger ([EMAIL PROTECTED]) wrote:

> 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
> downloading.
> 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:
> Headline
> 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:
> HERE}</A><BR>
> 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);
> fclose($tp);
> $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);
> $count++;
> if ($disp != 'all') {
> if ($count == $disp) {
> break;
> }
> }
> }
> }
> }
> 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.
> Cheers,
> Chad in Florence, Italy [EMAIL PROTECTED]

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