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Setting Up Database Driven Websites

This tutorial is an introductory guide to get you started in the world of server-side-scripting and web databases. It covers installation and configuration of MySQL, Apache, and PHP. An example script is also included as a guide for making your own server-side-scripts.

  1. Setting Up Database Driven Websites
  2. Requirements
  3. Installing MySQL
  4. Installing Apache
  5. Installing PHP
  6. Creating the Database
  7. Making a PHP Script
  8. Testing the Script
By: Ying Zhang
Rating: starstarstarstarstar / 17
May 20, 1999

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This guide walks you through installing a web server, an SQL database server, and a server-side scripting tool that ties everything together. Some of the more popular tools for doing this are Apache, MySQL, and PHP3.

This is what you will have accomplished after successfully completing this guide:

  • setup the MySQL database server
  • setup the Apache web server
  • setup the PHP 3.0 Hypertext Preprocessor for server-side-scripting
  • create a simple web enabled database

This guide is meant as an introductory guide to get you started in the world of server-side-scripting and web databases. It will help you get up and running with the aforementioned products, and hopefully give you a better understanding of how this stuff all works.

How It Works

It is helpful to have a feeling for what goes on behind the scenes, so here is an over simplification of how things would work,. This diagram isn't really correct but it should be enough for now:

diagram1.gif (2327 bytes)

So let's set the scenario. We have a web page that pulls some data out of a database. John Doe requests this page from his browser, the request is sent to the web server which in turn calls a PHP script. The PHP script is executed by the PHP preprocessor, it pulls data from the database. The results are then massaged by the rest of the PHP script and turned into HTML. The final HTML gets sent back to the user's browser.

Got that? Let's look at this step by step:

  1. John Doe clicks on a link to from his web browser; his web browser sends a request for http://www.foo.com/foofoo.php3.

  2. Apache gets the request for foofoo.php3. It knows that .php3 files are handled by the PHP preprocessor, so it tells PHP to deal with it.

  3. foofoo.php3 is a PHP script that contains commands. One of these commands is to open a connection to a database and grab some data. PHP knows how to talk to the database, so it does its thing.

  4. The data comes back from the database, and foofoo.php3 does something to format the data. Typically this would be to make it look pretty before formatting it into HTML.

  5. The HTML goes back to Apache.

  6. Apache sends this back to John Doe's browser, as the response to his request. John Doe now sees a pretty web page containing some information from a database.

Again, that's not 100% correct but it's enough to understand what goes on :). Now that we have a basic understanding of what we are trying to accomplish, let's get on to installing the software.

>>> More Site Administration Articles          >>> More By Ying Zhang

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