Hypertext and Its Relations
There is a natural affinity between relational databases and hypertext. Relational databases emphasize the relations between data sets. Hypertext is a method for linking related documents. Both relational theory and hypertext revolve around linking together pieces of information.
The two technologies enhance each other. A database is a way for storing information in a computer. Hypertext is a method for displaying information on a computer screen. It is natural to want to combine these technologies for storing and displaying information.
Computer programmers speak in acronyms. The language used to create and access databases is called SQL (Structured Query Language.) The language used for creating hypertext documents is called HTML (HyperText Markup Language.)
Unfortunately, HTML is a static language. You cannot directly make database calls from HTML. To access the database from a web page, you need a intermediary language. In this course, I will use PHP. PHP stands for PHP (It is best to just forget that PHP originally meant "Personal Home Page.")
The site contains seven day course on creating web enabled databases with PHP. The course targets people with moderate computer skills who are interested in creating dynamic web pages. It is not intended as an exhaustive treatment of the subject, but enough information to get a person going.
During this course we will build the basic elements of a enterprise level application.
Day One: Power HTML
The power of HTML is its simplicity. In the first day, we will review the HTML used later in the course. Basically, we will review the paragraph, anchor tag, body tag, table tags and header information. I call the section Power HTML to emphasize that the power of HTML is its simplicity.
Day Two: Generating HTML with PHP
On the second day, we will jump into basic PHP. PHP is a scripting language for creating HTML, and the student will get a handy pile of utilities to help with the HTML generation process. This lecture uses the following resources:
- Programming With PHP: An introduction to programming.
- Samples from hTools: A portion of the hTools Documentation.
Day Three: SELECT information FROM Data;
On the third day, we will explore elementary database theory, and learn how to write select statements. A select statement is best understood as a description of a dataset.
Day Four: Displaying A Result Set with PHP
We now have all the information we need to display information from a database on a web site. This is the fun part of the course.
Day Five: HTML Forms and PHP
Most books on web site design begin with a section on architecture. Personally, I like to have a little experience under my belt before jumping into the topic. We will talk briefly about the different components in a web site and object oriented programming. Toward the end of the day, we will discuss HTML forms, and how PHP presents the data from these forms.
Day Six: Populating the Database
In the first part of the course, we were selecting data from prepopulated databases. In this lecture, we will learn how to write programs that insert, update and delete information in the database. We will write some programs to update the database, and I will show you a wonderful thing called a CRUD matrix.
Day Seven: Creating Tables
To polish off our discussion on creating web enabled databases, we will learn how to create database tables. We will discuss database theory and normalization. We will also look at different materials that you can use to master these different elements of web development.
I hope you enjoy the course. It is now time to start the first section on Power HTML.