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pjbw

Which lesson?

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I need to be able to set up a table form to email to all my contacts so that each one can fill in appropriate cell(s).

In Thunderbird I would initially send the form to all my contacts. As each one completed his/her cells they would Reply to all so that we are all in touch. For security a blank cell could be completed by anyone, a completed cell would be amendable only by that contact, or a master user (me!).

Where do I go in W3Schools to get started, HTML, CSS, ? ( I wrote systems and application software in Unix some years ago).

Edited by pjbw

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You can't do all of that with email alone, there's not a good way to authorize people through email.  It would make more sense to set it up as a web page where people would create an account that they log in to, so that it knows which ones they're allowed to edit.  HTML and CSS would just be for building the form itself, you would need some server-side code to save the data to a database or files, and you can add Javascript to make it more user-friendly so that people can update everything without needing to reload the entire page every time.

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Thank you,

I tried out my basic idea with friends of mine and between my two email addresses.

I created my 3 column, 19 row table in Thunderbird: Tools, New message, insert Table, Save as Template.

Then in Thunderbird Templates, Enter as new message and emailed the table with instructions to my testers.

They could see my table and entered Reply or whatever  in a variety of email clients. In the Reply window they were able to click in an appropriate cell and key in stuff.

They then could click Send or whatever and the completed table  would come back to me.

I don't know whether all this was in by HTML or what but it would be great if it all could be automated / tidied up.

TableTo 0508.eml

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If you just want people to all edit the same email and send it back, that's fine, but you can't do this with nothing but an email client:

For security a blank cell could be completed by anyone, a completed cell would be amendable only by that contact, or a master user (me!).

If you want to add authentication and authorization, then you need to use an actual programming language and not just a text email.  It would be better to centralize everything on one web page also so that you don't end up with people editing the thing at the same time and all sending it out and now you have multiple versions of the table that you need to try and synchronize.  If you need a group to collaborate like that then use the right tool for the job, which is a single web page that everyone goes to so that everyone can see the same data and everyone can be authenticated and authorized to enter data in the appropriate places.

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I am beginning to think you are right.

I think I will need the 'Person' to log in with the name that they are going to put into a cell and a password.

I am very wary of using 'social media' such as Facebook - a very simple bog standard web page would suffice which they could load without any hassle on their smartphones or whatever. Possibly it could be loaded from an email link initially.

I would be developing it in Windows 7 32bit. Which lesson  which lesson would help me create such a web page?

Edited by pjbw

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I am beginning to think you are right.

Thanks for the vote of confidence.

I think I will need the 'Person' to log in with the name that they are going to put into a cell and a password.

Right, that's authentication, that's the first step.  Figuring out who the user is.  The second step is authorization - what can that user do.  You will need to also store who made each change so that you can figure out who is allowed to make changes.  I would suggest using a database for this, you could try to cram all of that information into a text file but a database would be so much less hassle.

I am very wary of using 'social media' such as Facebook

I think that just adds more complexity than it's worth.  It's up to you what you want to capture, maybe it's only an email address and a password or maybe you want their name or whatever else, whatever you want to display on the page so that people can see who edited what.  It's up to you what information you want to ask them for.  In general, you need a register page for people to create a new account, you could add a password reset page if you want where they enter their email address and get an email with a link to reset their password, then a login page (that can even just be a couple fields on the other pages), and then for admin users you'll need a page that lists all of the other users where you can change their passwords, de-activate them so they can't log in anymore, or whatever else you want to do.  That's the basic idea of it.

Since PHP is so widely used, it's probably the best way to go.  The PHP section is here:

https://www.w3schools.com/php/default.asp

From the menu on the left you'll at least need to know how to handle forms and how to interact with the database, but you'll need to know or reference much of the beginning topics to be able to write the code you need.  You'll need a web server for this, if you want to develop everything locally then you can download a package like XAMPP which includes everything you need, or you can find a free or cheap host to put it online.  When you get to that part we can also help you design the database so that it's flexible if you want to add more features or whatever later on.

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Thank you for your comprehensive reply,

I have scoured Google but I can't find how PHP, HTML and XAMPP relate to each other.

The PHP lesson says that I have to know HTML.

Maybe you could clarify?

(Many years ago in Unix I wrote Scripts such as menus which were interpreted. These would load my required compiled programs. When I retired I was just starting GUIs !)

 

 

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HTML is the markup language that web browsers use to render things like tables, buttons, images, etc.  HTML defines the structure of a web page.  PHP runs on a web server and is how a user interacts with a web site.  Any time a browser sends data to a web server, like through a form, or cookies, or variables in a URL, a server-side language like PHP is needed to use that data however you want to use it.  PHP can output HTML so that the browser renders the page that is produced by the output of the server-side language.  XAMPP is a development package that includes the Apache web server, PHP configured for use by Apache, the MySQL database configured for use by PHP, and phpMyAdmin, which is a PHP program that gives you a GUI for managing MySQL.  The alternative to a package like XAMPP is to install your own web server, download and install PHP and configure it and the web server to work together, download and install MySQL and configure it yourself, etc.

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