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    We are transforming a static-page site that has become overwhelming to a database-driven site (hopefully), but I'm not sure exactly where to start. I've got a dedicated BSD server running Apache that I can pretty much do what I like with (though I have limited myself to configuring ready-written perl scripts).

    My question is this: is mySQL/php the best way to do this? If so, I just install mySQL on the same machine running Apache, right? Also, is there any off-the-shelf stuff that I can just configure for my purposes or are there other tools I should use? (I looked at Zope, but I think it may be too much). I just want to be able to easily stick videos/images and descriptions in a database and then have a dynamic web interface that lets users browse the contents and view files.

    Any help is greatly appreciated.
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    MySQL/PHP would probably be the best solution.

    I see your project having a minimum of 3 steps.

    1) Place the data in the existing pages into the db. If you want to enter this all manually then do number 3 first. OTOH, it would probably be wise (depending on how much data you already have) to write a script to parse the existing static pages, strip the data and insert it.

    2) Replace the static pages with PHP/MySQL generated pages. (The easy part)

    3) Write the administrative interfaces necessary to maintain the db. Again if you want to enter the existing data manually, you'll need to do this first so you can do that.
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    Thank you. At least I know I'm on the right track. Now, the second part of this saga is that I'm really just a technically adept website designer with experience hooking up pre-written scripts. I've done squat with databases and their administrative interfaces. I realize I am in over my head, but I'd like to give this a shot anyway. So,

    A. are there ready-made solutions out there?
    B. if not, can you recommend a book on the subject?
    C. should I just give this up and hire someone who knows what they are doing? (I am signing up for classes in the fall).

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    Answers:

    A) for steps 2 and 3 I'm sure you could find something on many of the script repositories. for step 1, I'm afraid you won't be able to find anything ready made as parsing of existing html to get out the data depends to heavily on the structure of those pages.

    B) Professional PHP Programming

    C) Doing it yourself can be most gratifying, and if you're planning on leaning PHP and MySQL anyway AND are NOT under any time constraints have at it. you'll only learn by doing. However, if you need this done in a hurry, then you probably should consult a professional. I'll be happy to place a bid if you like, just send me an email.
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    Thanks for your help. I may be emailing you when/if I get stuck. Right now my biggest problem is getting mySQL installed on the server. I've run into problems, but I will ask elsewhere(different thread) about that.

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