Welcome to WebmasterWorld Guest from 126.96.36.199
so when a customer clicks on ie "red widgets"
Do you mean you'll have buttons for say "red widgets" "green widgets" etc.? Or do you want to have a search box where the user might enter "red widgets", or even a drop down list?
Now about the info on widgets? where is it stored? in a db? flat files?
with answers to those, I'm sure we'll be able to help you out a litlle better.
i have just set up almost exactly the same thing on our site, except mine used pull down menus. i used mysql and php.
as a complete beginner it took me about a week to get it working (with a little help from these forums to display a two column set of results ;-)
like the others say, first check with hosting company that you can use mysql / php, and then go and read up on mysql - there are some good tutorials at sitepoint.com, i also spent a lot of time at mysql.com.
you can learn the principles of mysql really quickly. i found it best to play around with a command line tool. a few days mucking creating databases, and you'll already know enough to start.
(download the mini server from foxserv.com - which allows you to use mysql and test .php on your own home pc)
after that it is a question of learning enough php.
i'd recommend getting some sort of mysql / php book. it is amazing how much quicker you learn, if you have something to read whilst not on the pc.
i'll just add as well, that since i have started using php and mysql i can't stop - it has completely changed the way i am thinking about my site. i am now writing a simple news / articles delivery system using php/mysql, which is going to allow our editor to update the news page. it's not finished yet by a long way, but already it works roughly how it should - php/mysql has an incredibly high learning curve.
sorry for the long post, just wanted to give a few words of encouragement. go for it - it is really worth it.
<added>i spent too long writing the post ;-) looks like php is a no go - don't know nuffink about .jsp - still good luck!</added>
Yep PHP is a good one for the feature you wish to have. Brill for handling forms.
And easy enough to learn, dont think you necessarily have to have a database for what you want to achieve.
Learn enough PHP to post the form data to a handleform page, on the handleform page you can have a switch conditional (eg depending on user input do a different action - if you only have a few options this will be fine), the action for eg Red Widgets can be a window replace to the red_widgets html page.
Hope that makes sense?