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Old 08-25-2005, 09:22 PM   #1
djb
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Default Diving in to PHP and mySQL

I need an ad tracking system for our newspaper and associated magazines and I haven't been able to find anything that doesn't cost an arm and a leg or that fails to hit even 50% of my wish list for features, so I've decided to bite the bullet, learn PHP and mySQL programming and roll my own.

Anyone with similar needs interested in collaborating? I'm a total newbie and my time frame is "flexible" as I have other responsibilities that need to be tended, but am hoping to have something reasonably functional in 6-9 months.

djb
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Old 08-26-2005, 06:42 AM   #2
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djb,

Quote:
Anyone with similar needs interested in collaborating?
I'm interested in learning PHP and MySQL and have done some initial reading and a couple of simple table access's, but I don't need any ad tracking at this time...

Dave
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Old 08-26-2005, 01:38 PM   #3
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I am pretty good with both php and mysql and would be willing to help you out. I have an interest in publications, and might be able to use the end product as a teaching tool at some point.

You can email me directly at donmcc at rogers.com if you want to take it private.

Don McCahill
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Old 08-26-2005, 01:48 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by donmcc
I am pretty good with both php and mysql and would be willing to help you out. I have an interest in publications, and might be able to use the end product as a teaching tool at some point.

You can email me directly at donmcc at rogers.com if you want to take it private.
Oh, no! This should be done here, as there are many of us tiptoeing toward PHP and MySQL. Pretty please!

   
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Old 08-26-2005, 01:53 PM   #5
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I have no problems with that, but djb might not want to flash all the business information out in public. We could make use of the forum for generalities, perhaps. I wonder if there is a way that an email can be forwarded in as a message?
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Old 08-26-2005, 02:26 PM   #6
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Have you looked to see if there is something at (say) hotscripts.com which comes close enough to be worth hacking?

Your project description is pretty open-ended....

And, yes, I have some experience with MySQL (and PostgreSQL) and PHP (and Perl and ASP)

Gary
http://www.quty.com/
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Old 08-26-2005, 02:35 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by donmcc
I have no problems with that, but djb might not want to flash all the business information out in public. We could make use of the forum for generalities, perhaps. I wonder if there is a way that an email can be forwarded in as a message?
I'm not worried about any confidentiality issues, and willl probably release the finished product under a GPL licence if it works out the way I hope.

I also have the luxury of "no urgent timetable".

;-)

Right now I'm trying to get up to speed on the basics of PHP and MySQL. I've started into "How to Do Everything with PHP & MySQL" by Vikram Vaswani and started reading this afternoon. I also have a couple of "for Dummies" titles to poke into.

I've started to plan some tables for the database (in an Excel spreadsheet right now) - Field name, data type, and field description to start.

One of the data decisions I'm struggling with is:

Does a publication have an ad, or does an ad have a publication? We do have a fairly good rate of pick-ups of newspaper ads, which means the same ad could be in multiple publications. That suggests to me that I should say the publication has the ad rather than the other way 'round... Does that make sense?

A publication could be any one of the 52 or 53 issues of the newspaper a year, a flyer, or any one of a dozen to a dozen and a half magazine issues (varying titles and frequency).

I'm trying to start with designing the data at the same time I'm designing the database structure. I've attached the excel file with my effort to date. How does it look to you?
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File Type: zip tables_plan.xls.zip (6.4 KB, 219 views)
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Old 08-26-2005, 02:45 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gary
Have you looked to see if there is something at (say) hotscripts.com which comes close enough to be worth hacking?

Your project description is pretty open-ended....

And, yes, I have some experience with MySQL (and PostgreSQL) and PHP (and Perl and ASP)

Gary
http://www.quty.com/
I haven't found anything that meets my specific needs that isn't a commercial product with a hefty price tag. PhpCollab is pointing in the right direction, but doesn't even hit the "50% of what I need" mark.

Also, it will be useful to me and the company to develop the skills. And learning new stuff is fun! :-)

Self-reliance and in-house development and support is something of a company philosophy that has served and continues to serve us well.

As for open ended, I actually do have a quite specific idea of what the end product needs to do. See my reply to Don, I've already started designing the database tables...

Basically, I want a product that will allow us to track the status of ads through the production process from insertion order to signed off proof. Multiple publications, with the ability for the sales reps to monitor the ads they're responsible for.

Is the quty.com site your work?
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Old 08-26-2005, 03:17 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by djb
I've attached the excel file with my effort to date. How does it look to you?
One suggestion I have after looking at your table structure is to make all your IDs serial numbers. These should be the primary keys for relational links (SQL joins) between tables. You should then make sure your ads are independent of your publications and vice versa, i.e. an ad should not own a publication; neither should a publication own an ad. The more restrictive or rigid your structure, the harder it is to fix if situations change down the track - as they certainly will!

The old mainframe databases were hierarchical in structure, but SQL is inherrently relational, so you need to remember that when creating your tables. Enforcing parent/child structures in the tables can cause problems later on - I've made these mistakes myself, you see. ;-)

   
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Old 08-26-2005, 03:24 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by annc
One suggestion I have after looking at your table structure is to make all your IDs serial numbers. These should be the primary keys for relational links (SQL joins) between tables. You should then make sure your ads are independent of your publications and vice versa, i.e. an ad should not own a publication; neither should a publication own an ad. The more restrictive or rigid your structure, the harder it is to fix if situations change down the track - as they certainly will!
I've been leaning to the serial number idea as well. Deciding how to construct them is an issue I have to decide as they'll need to be constructed on the fly.
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