Database Front End

I am not exactly a newbie to web stuff, but am exploring new avenues. I looked in the web panel, but am not sure what I am looking for. I was wondering if there is a database front-end plugin available. One of the one-click installs would be great. Just something for containing information online. Hope I asked that correctly. Thanks much!

There are not any “database front end” “one-click” installs available, but Dreamhost does have phpMyAdmin preinstalled, which provides a “front-end” for managing a MySQL database.

Note that this is a “tool” for managing data, and should not be used as a “front end” for a “public installation” of a database, though you could certainly use it for your own private use. For publicly viewable databases, there are plenty such programs out there, depending upon what you really want to do.

The class of programs you are most likely looking for are those that provide basic “crud” (Create, Read, Update, Delete) funtions for a web hosted database. Looking through the “database” sections of the scripts on (you can look under perl, php, python, etc sections) will provide many programs with varying power and capabilities, both “free” and “commercial”.

You can use these scripts with MySql and/or “flatfile” databases to provide an “online database” that you can perform “crud” operations on with varying degrees of privacy and user level control.

There are also several “online generators” that will build a series of “crud” applications for an existing database. One I have used with good results is (which, in spite of its name) will produce MySQL compatible “crud” code as well as such code for “flattext” databases, with user-selectable user control mechanisms built-in. This is not a free service, but the produced scripts are very robust, and they are not very expensive.

Lastly, if you want to roll your own, there are many tutorials on the web (google) for putting a MySQL or flat text database on the web and manipulating it.

To summarize, the best way to do this depends on what you are tyring to do, what access controls you need, and how much you want to spend. There are so many choices out there, until you describe more fully what you want to do, it’s near impossible to give a “good” recomendation.


Cool, thanks. Basically, what I want to do is make a data sharing tool for me and some of my friends. It won’t be public, but it would be nice if we could have easy access to it. Thanks much for the insight!

No problem! I don’t think you wanna do that via PhpMyAdmin :wink: . Some of those other scripts I mentioned though should work very well for what you describe. If you “trust” your friends, you could just throw one of those scripts up on the web in an .htaccess protected directory (to keep it out of the “public” view), and share away!

BTW, Dreamhost makes setting up that .htaccess directory protection very easy from the “Goodies” section of the control Panel. Good Luck!


Not sure this is the place to start, but you sound like you know what’s up, rlparker. I am a true newbie in db setup and management and trying to figure it all out. I find most of the help info is still very cryptic to me.

I currently have a Joomla test area setup in a subdirectory of my customer’s site. I setup Joomla with 1-click and it installed successfully. I frankly don’t know if I need Joomla, but I thought I might use it for a search page on my customers html site and delete or modify the stuff I don’t want or need. Anyway, now, I’m trying to get the Joomla search to find and deliver results from my existing mysql db. Of course, it doesn’t show up at all. So, I go to phpmyadmin and it tells me there is no index specified for the db. Frankly, I have no clue what some of the options mean.

I can successfully logon to the db in phpmyadmin in the DH panel mysql area for this customer. It then shows me all the fields (headings) now setup. Below, it has the warning !No index defined!. And, below that, “Create an index on_1_columns GO”

Above that is has:
Add _field(s)_At End of Table _At Beginning of Table _After
(Drop-down showing all the current col heads) GO

If I select Add 1 field at beginning of table
and click GO, it gives me all these blank fields I don’t know what to enter into: Field TypeDocumentation Length/Values1 Collation Attributes, etc.

If I select:
Create an index on 1 columns
Click GO

I get a page that shows a default setting as:
Create a new index
Index name:PRIMARY Index type: PRIMARY Documentation
and then this warning below the above:
(“PRIMARY” must be the name of and only of a primary key!)
Field (drop-dwn) Size ____

You can clearly see I’m clueless. Can you suggest what I should do, or where I should look to get some help with this?

This customer has a db of electronic components and the characteristics of each component. The goal is to create a search section in an existing html page on his web site so a visitor can find a specific part. When the part number, or other characteristic is either entered or selected from a drop-down list in the search area of the page, the result is a list of parts that match the specified criteria.

The first column of the current installed mysql db is “Part Number”

Thanks for any help or direction you can offer.

Web Designer

Ha! I’m not sure I even know “which way” is “up” most of the time, let alone knowing “what” is “up”! I just try to help when I can. :slight_smile:

Frankly, trying to use Joomla! in that way for that purpose is a little bit like to trying to scramble an egg in a toaster - I’m not saying you could not manage to find a way to do it after one fashion or another, but it wouldn’t be “pretty” and you’re not likely to be happy with the result. Joomla! provides a great framework for building websites, but it’s “search” functions are not its best feature, and are definitely not suited for “searching” content not entered into the site from within the Joomla! content management scheme.

Which is indicative of “correct” operation - the Joomla! search delivers appropriate SQL queries to the Joomla! database and its tables; it will not even address data maintained in another database, or any other tables than those it knows how to query.

This is a different thing altogether, and is in no way related to Joomla!. What phpMyAdmin is telling you is that no fields in that database have been defined as being an index. As much as I hate to be the “bearer of bad news”, you really do need to have a basic understanding of database operations and MySQL to make effective use of phpMyAdmin. It is actually very easy to screw up your database pretty dramatically with phpMyAdmin by clicking around the menus if you don’t know what you are doing :wink:

[quote]I can successfully logon to the db in phpmyadmin in the DH panel mysql area for this customer. It then shows me …(omitted description of warning messages and other phpMyAdmin dialogs regarding field creation and index creation)…
You can clearly see I’m clueless. Can you suggest what I should do, or where I should look to get some help with this?[/quote]
While the “help” in phpMyAdmin is excellent as it relates to phpMyAdmin, it is not a substitute for the MySQL manual, and you really are going to need to spend at least some time reviewing this so you can at least understand the terminology when presented with messages and options. Unfortunately, there is no “shortcut” for that step. Even if you find a pre-existing script to accomplish your search needs, without a basic understanding of the database, you are likely to get into trouble pretty quickly.

For example, regarding your particular circumstance as detailed in the text I omitted from the last “quote”, if your database was properly designed (and it may be!), you should not need to create a new field to create an index - you would merely need to identify/define the appropriate existing field as the index. From the information provided in the rest of your post, I suspect this would likely be the “part number” field :wink: .

This is a very typical web development problem/issue, and there are many tools to help you accomplish this (though Joomla! is not one of them). Once you have a basic understanding of how MySQL works, you will be in a much better position to evaluate those tools and pick those that will be most helpful to you. The choice of tools is directly related to the strengths and weaknesses in your own skill set.

I find that, for most, the first few chapters of almost any good MySQL book, or “a few hours” working through any of the many available tutorials or introductions available on the web (as identified via a Google search), should give you adequate knowledge to evaluate, select, and successfully use any of a number of freely available “CRUD” generation tools for integrating the functions you require into a website. Some of these are “code frameworks” that you can use to assist you in writing the code needed, while others are “code generators” that you can run on your computer, or from the web, to “automagically” create the forms needed for building queries and the code for displaying output.

I don’t want to sound discouraging here, but I want to give accurate advice; just as you had learn about graphic file formats and color on the web before you could use Photoshop, or other “tool”, to create graphics for a website, you have to have a basic understanding of databases in general, and of the database you plan to use in particular (in this case, MySQL) to effectively use “tools” to help you integrate database functionality into a website.

Given that you indicate this project is for a customer, and depending upon your time constraints and/or interest in getting yourself “up to speed” with this technology, you might consider that the best “business decision” may be for you to sub-contract that part of the project to one who “does this stuff”. As you have described your project, while complicated and confusing to you, it would be almost “trivial” to an experienced php/perl and MySQL developer, and shouldn’t cost more than a few hundred dollars to have done.

On the other hand, becoming sufficiently educated in these technologies to “do it yourself” with the help of existing tools is not unreasonable, and, if your time and interest allows, doing that will greatly increase your ability to provide solutions for your clients “in house”. Some web folks are “designers”, some are “programmers”, and some “developers” do both design work and programming. The project you describe is much more of a “programming” project than a design project; how you choose to approach it should be consistent with your skill set, your business model, and your goals. :slight_smile:

I don’t know if any of that is helpful to you; it is certainly not one of those “go here, download this, and go” kind of answers. While I have my own “tools” that I like for “CRUD” creation, etc., I can’t confidently recommend any of them for your immediate use given your understanding of the process as evidenced by your post. I do not mean that comment to be unkind or critical; we all have to learn new things, and there is nothing to be ashamed of about not understanding a technology with which you have not become familiar. It is also true that neither you or your customer would be well served by my pointing you to a “tool” that would only confuse you further, and I don’t want to add to your frustration (which is what would happen if you were to attempt to use such a tool to help build code that the function and purpose of which you don’t understand).

Most of all, don’t be discouraged - there are solutions to your problem. Whether you need to hire this one out, or whether you “dive right in” and learn enough about MySQL and php/perl to do it yourself, your goal is attainable :slight_smile:


Very well said and very much appreciated. I’ll take your advice, one way or the other :o)

Web Designer