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Creating a Searchable Inventory System: Setting Up Your Database and User Interface

Businesses that hope to sell items through their website need a searchable inventory system for the web. This article, the first in a four-part series, will start you on your way to building one.

TABLE OF CONTENTS:
  1. Creating a Searchable Inventory System: Setting Up Your Database and User Interface
  2. A Look at the Database
  3. Defining the Visual Layout
  4. How Do We Begin?
By: Brian Vaughn
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November 08, 2005

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There are many sites on the web that employ searchable inventory systems. Some do a better job than others, and as web developers it is our goal to create those systems that rank among the highest in usability and user friendliness.

This article will be a four-part tutorial on creating a searchable inventory system for the web. We will take a look at everything –- from initial database design and creation, to user interface layout with CSS and HTML, to the backend PHP and JavaScript code that pulls everything together. In this first part, we will discuss setting up the database and the visual elements of the search (the overall HTML layout, CSS, JavaScript, and so on).

Part two will introduce our helper Search class, and talk about creating a set of inter-dependent SELECT menus using a dynamically included JavaScript file. Part three will deal with constructing our search query, displaying results, sorting results, and proper storage of search field values within the SESSION. Finally, part four will seal things off with some advanced search features such as a pagination menu, the option to “Search within Results,” and the choice between multiple view-modes for display.

By the end of this series of articles you should be able to apply the techniques discussed in order to create an effective, easy to use interface for searching through any type of online inventory.



 
 
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