I created this mainly out of a need to learn HTML. As things usually do with coding it grew to use some of the other technologies out there, CSS being the obvious for layout control.
Being as though Microsoft are starting to roll out global domination with all things PC, I didn't want to go down the line of using FrontPage (you can always tell a FrontPage wizzarded site!) or even IIS to host it on (plus its expense that I didn't want!). I wanted to see what else was available and how easy it would be to put it together.
That leads me to the choice of tools I have used here. For server based scripting I use PHP, which doesn't seem that hard to get to grips with (although I have done my share of coding in my time). The actual web server itself is Apache, and again although its configuration is mainly through .ini files it seems pretty much a 'straight out of the box' piece of software. To supply database connectivity, and again not using Microsoft, I have used MySQL. These three also seem to be the logical choice for putting together web sites these days. The amount of books that cover these seems to be growing all the time.
Coding was done the hard way(?), by hand, with notepad to start off with but then I found PHP Expert Editor. It fits my requirements spot on! Notepad is just too basic and Frontpage is just to Gooooeee (GUI!) for my liking. PHP Expert Editor gives you a nice layout - multiple edit windows and has big benefits for PHP coding. Have a look at their site for the full spec.
The button menus you see on the left hand side is programmatically created with PHP which in turn gets the information from an SQL database. Again real easy with PHP and even better using PHP Expert Editor as it has predefined routines (that you can customize) that will open up tables and return results based on SQL queries. A good starting block to start customization!
On the main page, the Virus info, Lotto, Weather and TV Guides are all programmaticly created and get the info 'on the fly' from the relevant sources. Again this is all done with PHP server scripting. These sections were created with the 'can it be done' rather than 'I want to steal' attitude, hence all the sources are duly credited (and any links these sections have go back to the original). I wanted to create a central resource that has information that I referenced regularly.
The only sticky point to my non Microsoft approach is I am running everything on Windows 2000 I just haven't got around to figuring out Linux yet - although thats on my list!
Well I mentioned it a paragraph or so ago, Linux may well feature to hold this site. All of the server based software I have used is certainly available in Unix distributions, so from that side of things it should not be a problem.
I am also looking to include other types of features on the main page, a current news round up spring to mind. I was even toying with the idea of getting this to remember who visits and have preferences to allow you to either display the Lotto or just the TV or any combination of what gets left on the front page. Thats if there is enough interest? mail me?
First off, a quick appology.(5) I've been getting hit more and more with bots trying to register on the forums.
My inbox was getting waxed with rogue posts and splurious user accounts. To that end, I have taken the approch that to
register, you need to want to register.(3) The simplest way I've found to do that is to insert the VIP code
into the registration process.(7) That way, if you are serious, then you have come here to find the code to
register with. Sorry about the inconveience to all you valid users out there but I need to save my inbox from abuse!(1)
And in case you havnt got it - read the above paragraph and extract the numbers :) - See you in the forums!...