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RE: [K12OSN] Web Site Portal Intranets

For the basic learning, I used PHP Programming (it's a big red book),
php Fast and Easy, and another one which escapes my mind, namely because
someone took it and hasn't returned it. :p

I also used a ton of online references like www.phpbuilder.com and
www.php.net (official site).  Also, #php on irc.openprojects.net usually
has some good people in it.

I would say, learn the basics of PHP and MySQL.  Then start a project
with a clear goal.  You'll learn an incredible amount about programming
by doing that.  You'll also realize that you suck incredibly at
programming.  But you'll have made mistakes and learned and have
developed new methods and ideas for your next project.

Things I'd suggest you learn/know...
- PEAR.  It has a lot of valuable classes, including database
abstraction and more.

- Functions and Classes (Object oriented programming).  Make life easier
by using reusable classes.

- Write clear code.  I look back on some of the stuff I did two years
ago and I weep like a princess over how horrible it is.  I don't even
understand it or what it is does, even though I wrote it.

- Clear design goal and vision.  Don't just start, have some end point
in mind and layout the groundwork for it.

- Start small and work up.  

- Don't move everything over to this new thing until you are 100% sure
it works and works well (All the eggs in one basket kinda thing).

- When you do get things running, don't let it break.  People will
rapidly lose confidence in it and stop using it.  It's a bad thing :-/

- Design with the user in mind and try to make it as idiot proof as
possible.  For example, on our current homework website, for the teacher
to add their homework, the steps are:

1) Go to the URL
2) Type username and password
3) Click "Add Assignment"
4) Type assignment into the form (just a big textbox)
5) Hit submit

You can't make it any easier than that.  For SchoolWeb, we're unifying
our logins across MySQL and the regular Linux user account (for email),
so it's the same username and password to login everywhere.  That makes
it simple and easy to remember.

Good luck :)

- James

> -----Original Message-----
> From: k12osn-admin redhat com [mailto:k12osn-admin redhat com] On
> Of Ben Nickell
> Sent: Friday, June 07, 2002 5:02 PM
> To: k12osn redhat com
> Subject: Re: [K12OSN] Web Site Portal Intranets
> James,
> I too have looked at phpnuke, post nuke, and etc, but I think I would
> prefer a 'home made' solution.
> Can you provide any links, books, or other resources for someone who
> wants to build custom PHP/mySQL items like what you have written for
> your school.
> I have started to read many of the sites related to PHP and mySQL, but
> there is a whole lot of information out there, I am hoping you can
> filter a little bit, and point out resources that have been helpful to
> you.
> I wonder if anyone using openACS or any other content management
> systems??  OpenACS (built from the ArsDigita CMS, now owned by RedHat,
> think) looks very professional, but it likes to use AOLserver as a web
> server, and that has help me back from trying it so far. There are
> modules to add on to apache, but the feeling I get  from reading posts
> is that using apache is not recommended.
> Thanks,
> Ben Nickell
> James wrote:
> > PostNuke is a rewrite on PHPNuke, which is extremely security hole
> bugriddled,
> > judging by the amount of bugtraq items I've seen on it over time.
> >
> > They both stink, imo :)
> >
> > I wrote a system in PHP/MySQL here that lets teachers post homework
> the web
> > and we're expanding it to allow uploading of documents, reserving of
> > computer labs, a favorite links list and more.  It wasn't too hard
to do
> and
> > was quite a learning experience and also lets you customize
> >
> > - James
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