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This week, we're updating our course layouts and descriptions. Presentation and materials always gently change over time, but just occasionally there's a need to make a step change to clear out some of the old and roll in the new. That's now happening - but over a long and complex site it's not instant and you'll see sections of the site changing up to and including 19th September.

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using the correct tools?

Posted by jtschirgi (jtschirgi), 18 November 2005
Hello.  My husband and I own a webdesign business and we have decided to take on a site that requires some dynamic pages.   This is our first site like that.

Background...the dynamic part of the site starts with a list of 10 diplomas or degrees offered by a college.  I want a high school student to be able to click on any of these "majors" and see a page that lists all the courses that are required to complete that major.

The list must include a link to a course description, number of credits, course title.  Some courses carry over to other majors (college comp I etc.).

The student needs to be able to check a box for the classes he/she wants to take in High School to get a jump on college.  Then click a submit button and have two sections generated, one with the college classes they want to take in HS and another segment listing which classes they'll have left to take in college.  Its basically a planning tool for parent/counselor/student.

Are MySQL and PHP the way to go with a project like this?  The college wants to be able to update this on their own later.  

Thanks much.  

Posted by admin (Graham Ellis), 18 November 2005
Short answer - PHP and MySQL would be excellent tools to provide the sort of capabilities that you're describing, but they're not the only good way of doing it.

Longer answer - if you and/or your husband are programming savvy / programming inclined then, yes, write something in PHP using MySQL.  If your company is of sufficient size that you don't actually do any of the coal face work these days, but manage employees who do, then writing something in PHP / MySQL would be a sensible approach if you have several reliable team members  with a suitable skill set. Do remember that only one in five software projects is maintained throughout its life by the original author, so allow for staff turnover and don't get to the point where a single person can more or less hold you to ransome; how are you at managing software projects and ensuring that things are well documented, backed up, etc?  I ask because with PHP and MySQL it's possible to come up with superb systems and also systems that are truely horrendous, unextendable and unmaintaininable and the manager needs to know sufficient to steer projects down the "superb" route.



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