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Thread: Total Noob In Dire Need Of Help

  1. #1
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    Total Noob In Dire Need Of Help

    So I am a sophomore majoring in computer science and engineering. I am also a student worker at my school. The project that I am currently working on is trying to develop an html form or vb program that will ask for various data from the user and then transfer that data into a MS Access Database. I have a couple of starting points (which is why I posted in Perl) that it may do me well to learn the Perl language and than use that to get the job done. I have also seen people say something about using ASP or MySQL. So just looking for a little help and if someone could point me in the right direction. Not looking for anyone to do my work just give me an idea of where to head from here. Thanks!

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by retroryan81 View Post
    So I am a sophomore majoring in computer science and engineering. I am also a student worker at my school. The project that I am currently working on is trying to develop an html form or vb program that will ask for various data from the user and then transfer that data into a MS Access Database. I have a couple of starting points (which is why I posted in Perl) that it may do me well to learn the Perl language and than use that to get the job done. I have also seen people say something about using ASP or MySQL. So just looking for a little help and if someone could point me in the right direction. Not looking for anyone to do my work just give me an idea of where to head from here. Thanks!
    The platform you choose has some bearing on the language and database. If you opt for windows, most likely is using .NET ASP and SQLServer. That is norm but it does not restrict you to use others of cuz.

    If you opt for unix or linux, you have more choices. You can have HTML/JSP+Java, HTML+PHP, HTML+mod_perl, HTML+Python. There are numerous others combination but above are those I know of.

    ASP - the programming language you use to write your presentation logic
    MySQL - the database you use to store your data

    So usually you use a programming language to write code to accept user input, process, validate etc etc and then finally you store the data into a database. Then for display purposes, you retrieve the data out from the database.

    As database can be a highly complex undertaking on it's own, most developers opt for Open Source alternatives like MySQL. Recently I also notice another called Firebird which has not really taken the IT world by storm and that makes me wonder.

  3. #3
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    To give a practical advice, it would be good to know what limitations you have. What computer will your project run on? Perl is an excellent choice of a programming language, although other languages can be easier to start with. Will the server running the project be a Windows box or a Unix box? Or can you choose? In that case go definitely for Unix / Linux.

    Basically you need to get a HTTP server up and running that allows for some server-side scripting and database functionality. If you already have some, then post here what kind it is. If not, we can start dealing with server installation, though there are tons of tutorials for that.

    When you have that, you'll write that script (in the programming language of your final choice -- for example Perl) for handling the user data. The database of choice is not that important because you mostly have a unified interface to any kind of database.
    The script will get the user-supplied data as HTTP request parameters. Either POST or GET parameters, that is. Various languages, with various modules and/or frameworks give you different interfaces to these HTTP request parameters. Again, if you have something like that up and running, then tell us which it is, otherwise let's choose one option (I'd suggest Perl with CGI::Minimal module).

    A final step would be to craft that HTML form and let its action attribute point to that script, so that the user can send it the data.

    Again, it is important to know what you have and can use; particularly the server machine and its
    1. operating system
    2. http server program (Apache, IIS, ...)
    3. scripting mechanism (mod_perl, CGI, ...)
    4. database engine (MySQL, Access, ...)

  4. #4
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    Again, depending on the system you want to use. If it's Unix/Apache and you are not going ASP. then Perl is very stable. It is harder to learn, but you can build some very serious applications once you have reached a more advanced level.

    I am nowhere near as experienced as Sixtease and as such develop all my stuff offline (safer that way) on my PC using IndigoPerl. You will also see IndigoAMPP there as well - both are free and can save you a lot of time FTPing and the like. Certainly worth a look at.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by edatz View Post
    I am nowhere near as experienced as Sixtease and as such develop all my stuff offline (safer that way) on my PC using IndigoPerl. You will also see IndigoAMPP there as well - both are free and can save you a lot of time FTPing and the like. Certainly worth a look at.
    May I suggest another alternative? I uses ActivePerl where they also have ActivePython and ActiveTCL.

    The most amazing and wonderful thing I like about Perl is the regular expression speed and accuracy. Till today, whenever I need to do regular expression matching and replace, only Perl comes to my mind.

    I usually uses Perl for back-end non-Web related purposes purely based on my company setup. We are not allowed to install any Open Source software on the Unix boxes even for Development environment.

  6. #6
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    I had thought of ActivePerl, but I don't know how experienced retroryan81 is and Indigo is a basically a one click installation which is a lot easier for novices.

    Didn't know they did an ActivePython though --- hmm......

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