If you’re more of a designer than a developer, integrating a database into a web application can be very technical and rather daunting. Over the years I’ve taught myself the basics, but not without a lot of frustration and fruitless web searching. So, here are the tutorials I wished for when I was learning how to do this.
A danger of using wizards or graphical user interfaces to create PHP code is that if you don’t know how to modify the code, usability can suffer. The defaults aren’t always what you want. Here are a few easy modifications to Dreamweaver’s PHP output that make a big difference for the user experience.
These examples are based on Dreamweaver 8, using PHP/MySQL as the server model.
- User-friendly techniques for filtering a data table:
- Using a drop-down to filter a list by category
- Auto-submit the drop-down
- Create an “All Categories” wildcard choice
- Make the drop-down show the user’s choice after selection
- Filter a data table with two drop-down lists
- two independent categories
- Create dependent drop-down lists
- The user’s choice in the first list determines the contents of the second list
- Simple dynamic bar graphs (“sparklines”) to help visualize patterns