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I've been around HTML for quite some time (no expert but I get by). Ditto for databases, so I understand the basics of tables, relationships, queries, forms, reports etc etc. So I'm starting from a position of some general understanding of the task but no specific knowledge of how to implement a result.
Can anyone comment on:
1) Are there any decent off-the-shelf products for automating this type of task?
2) Any good information resources that break the topic down into simple english with a minimum of technobabble? I guess a "Web Databases For Dummies" would be perfect.
3) What is the best database software for the backend?
4) Anything else that a beginner needs to know before starting out.
If you are on the "light" end of both of those (less than 50meg and less than 100k searches a day), I'd think some of the off the shelf perl programs could suffice.
Backend depends on the OS being used. If you are on linux, then Mysql may suffice. Solaris or other higher end *nix, then you might want to spring big bucks for the real deal (SQL). If it is a win box...you are in our thoughts and prayers ;-) MS db systems are getting better, but the stability and security factors make it unsuitable for web work imho. Just look at Hotbot - it's had more down time due to db failures than the rest of the engines combined (the only se to run on a ms frontend).
4) get in cheap and spend some time learning first. Then decide what you really need. You can blow 25-100grand on a db setup without blinking.