Bitten off more than I can chew!

By daisnaid ·
I have been given the task of making our website save the data our clients enter, so that they can come back and finish the application later, via login and password. We have some data going to the mysql database now(via php), but not the whole application and the biggest hurdle is that we have over 700 different versions of the application (based on state and county) so I would really like it if there was a way to make each form create a table when they hit the submit/save button and then to be able to retrieve it is the second problem...

Is there anyone out there who can guide me in the direction of some software or something that I can read to figure out how to do this? Thanks so much!

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Database design task

by Toivo Talikka In reply to Bitten off more than I ca ...

If the current version of the back-end software of your website now accepts the data and processes it straight away, but you want to store the data, it sounds as if you need to analyse the contents of the forms and decide on the structure of your database. You may find lots of commonalities between all the different versions. You application must have grown like Topsy, but hopefully it is not too late to pull it together and structure the software properly.

You may want to set up a configuration file with entries covering the local variants of the fields or forms. This configuration file is read in the beginning of the transaction cycle and it determines, based on the location which fields are presented or which business rules are followed when processing the form. The web sites based on a Content Management System (CMS) like Joomla and others, go through the setup like this before the user sees the first icon on the screen or hits the first keystroke.

If you want to see how PHP integrates with MySQL, have a look at an example with installation instructions at You can look at the source code and also download the example.

If you want to experiment with PHP and MySQL, get the XAMPP from With the free MySQL administration tools you can set up a test environment in your PC. There are also free PHP editors available, but often just Notepad or WinSCP3 is adequate, unless you need to find a missing ' or > which causes an obscure syntax error.

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Thank you!

by daisnaid In reply to Database design task

Thank you so much! I realized shortly after posting this that I was going to have to restructure the database, and have been looking at database design tips and tricks - I still feel like Im in way over my head but a good challenge never hurt anyone! Granted I had been hoping for a way to automate all this rather than building it by hand, but I'll learn more this way for sure!

Thanks again!

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save data

by solson In reply to Thank you!

If the login establishes a session id, you should be able to associate the entered data with the user?s login. Then when the user logs in the user?s data can be retrieved by matching his id with the data the user last entered.

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