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webjourneyman
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I would like customers to be able to define the type of widgets they are looking for by marking off a checklist. Each item would have a photo and be tagged in the DB beforehand with relevant features. I´d like the results to show a linked picture of the best mach, followed by textlinks to the runner ups. I´d like the software to calculate what widget is most popular by how many clicks it recieves and display a linked picture automaticly on the first page above the checklist. Alternatively I´d like a random linked picture displayed there every time the site is visited. Is this something I would/should/could use php & mysql to do? Thanks in advance from an absolute php beginner. :)

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Pretty much any interactive website you can think of can be developed using PHP and MySQL as a backend. It sounds like you need something like a searchable product gallery or something like that. You can find several open source projects to do that stuff that you can get a good start with.

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Well, it's definately getting up towards advanced. You need to be able to design the database, build the database, and then design and build the application to use the database. If it's your first project, it's a pretty big one.

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O.k. I see, have you had any experience with ruby on rails? I´m trying to decide between the two, which one I should learn to use.Php has the advantage that everybody uses it and it has huge support, f.eks. this subforum, and there are gazillion libraries and tutorials out there.RoR has the advantage that it enforces strict rules on how to do things, making it easyer to understand a code someone else has designed.Or so Ive heard, my mind is melting from trying to figure out this alphabet soup of applications, programming languages etc. :)

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I don't have any experience with Ruby. The syntax looks fairly easy to understand, but one of the advantages to learning PHP is that it uses c-style syntax, and so other languages like javascript, perl, and C++ or C# will look familiar if you know PHP. And like you said, PHP has a lot more support than Ruby does. The website for Ruby lists a fair amount of hosts that support Ruby, but according to netcraft there are around 20 million hosts (servers) that run PHP.I guess it's up to you though. If you want to learn PHP, a good book is Programming PHP (which apparently has a second edition now), whose authors include Rasmus Lerdorf, who created PHP.

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I suggest ideally to learn PHP as it's very supported. However, your project does sound like a gallery, so instead of building your own, you should first get some open source gallery and study it's source code at first. Add a few features of your own later on, and when you have the mind and skills to develop a better architecture: start creating your own gallery engine.

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O.k. thanks for the tips, I´m going to order the book asap. I´ve found one os gallery calleded coppermine, it seems very popular. Know of any other good ones I might look at?Can you tell me is there a way to look at the php code on a site, like one can look at the html in a browser using "view source". Or is that something that is in general not possible?

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You can't see the PHP code unless you have direct access to the files (through FTP or something). The PHP code in the script gets executed by the server, and the server sends the browser whatever the PHP tells it to, so by looking at the output, you have no way of determining what code produced that. It's a feature of PHP though, so that people can't see how you're doing things if you don't want them to.

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