Very basic programming question

Discussion in 'Mac Programming' started by reykjavik, Sep 27, 2006.

  1. reykjavik macrumors 6502

    Aug 31, 2004
    I'm not sure if this is really a web programming question, because although I eventually want it on a web site, I'm not sure if the initial programming is web specific per se. Here is my question (I am clearly a novice and have never programmed anything besides html before so dont yell at me):

    I have an idea for a potentially profitable web site, however I can't find anyone to make it for me for free, so i'd like to learn and make it myself. It involves, without gving away any specifics, a person allowed to sign up and create a page that they can enter text into and the page will remember what text was written. Also, the text boxes should be fully customizable. Is this a flash thing? and if so, where can I learn about flash programming as oppoed to just basic web development?

    Also, if there are any flash developers and are interested in a new idea (I assure you, if you know what you're doing it shouldn't take much of your time), please email me reykjavik at dont spam me gee mail dot com, with a resume/portfolio but only if you're willing to sign an NDA. The business will be cut 50/50.
  2. noelister macrumors 6502

    Jan 15, 2005
    I don't think you would want to use flash. I am thinking PHP or ASP maybe the way to go. Also, you will need some sort of database to store the user accounts and any other pertinent information.
  3. Kunimodi macrumors member

    Sep 8, 2006
    Ashland, OR, USA
    Hi, reykjavik. So you need the following:

    1. User sign up and authentication
    2. A form that users use to enter attributed text
    3. A way to save and show the text that the users have entered

    In order to do this, you will need a web host that allows you to save state on it. This means you'll write a simple program that is called on the server and that saves and loads two things: user information and user-entered text. Many web hosts include the use of PHP pages. These would allow you to do what you need.

    There are a number of ways you could authenticate users. Your web server might support .htaccess files. You could use a username/password file or database table that you connect to the user via cookies (e.g. through sessions).

    There are some excellent AJAX-based text forms that are free to use. This could be the most time consuming and bug ridden part of development, so I'd highly recommend using one of these if possible. Kupu, dojo's rich text editor, and FCKeditor are all examples of this.

    Finally, storing the actual data can be done by writing and reading files or putting them into a database. Many smaller sites use MySQL, but I believe most of them actually would be better served by SQLite. SQLite is included in the newer versions of PHP and doesn't require any database setup (besides the initial CREATE TABLE stuff).

    All of these things should be readily doable by a competent web site developer who has prior experience with PHP. It is very much something you could do yourself, but you should be prepared to learn quite a bit along the way.

    I would highly recommend avoiding Flash for this. It is is not necessary, less maintainable, harder to integrate with a backend and most Flash UI widgets are much clunkier than their HTML equivalents. A server that will run your site will begin around $10/month.
  4. reykjavik thread starter macrumors 6502

    Aug 31, 2004

    Thanks so much for the info! Based on the amount of time, trial and error it took just to learn intermediate html, I think I'm just going to try and find someone who can do this. It would take them 3-4 days to write up and it would take me 3-4 months easy, so its just not worth it. I'll scan craigslist and hope i can find someone who is out of work and willing to take a chance on a new web 2.0 site idea. The reason why i stressed the flash is because of the overall feel of the site, which I suppose if I said more would release the idea. Anyway, thanks so much for the info, if I ever get enough balls to learn it on my own I'll definitely come back to this page. Thanks again!
  5. noelister macrumors 6502

    Jan 15, 2005
    Very well said Kunimodi. If I had the time, I would do this just for fun but work and school have most of my time occupied.

    Also, I think you can go with to start with. They are only 5 bucks a month and will be fine to start with.
  6. Kunimodi macrumors member

    Sep 8, 2006
    Ashland, OR, USA
    You're very welcome. There are many hungry web programmers out there who would jump at the chance to do such a project and many would do a great job at it. Beware of those who would fleece you though. Unless you want them to do a substantial amount of visual design, I would expect this project to take 15-30 hours. A talented developer could get it down sooner, but budgeting for this would still be fair.

    It sounds like what would be most prudent would be to have them do the programming work and get it running (and make sure it is secure). It could be a bit crude aesthetically at this point, but here is where you could put your HTML skills to use and adjust dimensions, colors, etc until it is perfect. That last perfecting stage is the hardest to communicate (and to get clear communication on) and can take the longest -- it doesn't make sense to pay a development price for it.

    One last thing: these days you can accomplish much of what used to require Flash using CSS and Javascript (and within a couple of years, SVG). Consider, for example, Google Maps and Gmail. The most valid rationale I know of for using Flash today is for the movie support (hence's use of Flash).
  7. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    How is this different then a "Wiki"?

    Quoted from -- "Wiki is a piece of server software that allows users to freely create and edit Web page content using any Web browser."

    The software you need is available right now for free. No need to write it. If fact there is SO MUCH of it that you will have quite some effort down loading and evaluating it all.

    It's easy to make a "text area" it is just a basic HTML form. Code on the server side would process the "submit" button would have to store the text in the database or file.

    When you think about it this forum page does what you want too. We can enter test and the system remembers what text was entered and can recall it later. Wikis even are more flexible.

    Nothing at all to do with Flash unless you wanted to make some kind of animation in addition to the test field.

Share This Page