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Thoughts on decent looking UI

I've spent the afternoon pouring over classified ad systems for use on a website I'm building. 

I really want one done in CGI that does not use a database for a few reasons:
1.  Easy backup by file copy via rsync over ssh to another server.
2.  Small site CGI will scale and server load will not be an issue.
3.  Did I mention easy backup?

What I'm finding is all the best looking an most featurful systems seem to be done in .asp.  A few decent one in php too.  The perl ones seem like the UI is an after thought. 

Why do you think that is?

Mike
Saturday, May 15, 2004

Have you seen Perl?  It's really not surprising that UI is an afterthought.

Almost Anonymous
Saturday, May 15, 2004

If you can use ASP, aren't both Access and Sql Server files easy to backup via file copy? (same with MySQL/php/perl)?

Ankur
Saturday, May 15, 2004

Yes they are easy enough.  I have a spare machine that is gonna be a backup.  I just wanted to do a file copy and have everything in sync.  Not have to have a db complicating things.  Like I said very small site on it's own server so I can do what I want. 

However I did find some nice programs later.  Not sure if I will go the php/mysql route or asp/sql route.  Currently the site runs on Linux.  I am more versed with sql server than mysql, but with a little reading I can pick up what I need to know if I go the mysql route.  Basically I would have mysql do a backup to a file and rsync that file with the rest of the site.

In answer to my original question I think most of the perl cgi I looked at today was developed when the web was in it's infancy (97-2000).  There was a lot more emphasis on get it done as opposed to now which is get it done and have it look good too.  Php/mysql seems to be more alive now than asp.  Asp.net certainly is alive too, but alot of the asp programs have not been moved to that yet.  For a lot of small sites like mine, asp is probably simpler and better suited than asp.net anyway.

Mike
Saturday, May 15, 2004

Mike,
you said:
"I just wanted to do a file copy and have everything in sync.  Not have to have a db complicating things."

but before that you said:
"What I'm finding is all the best looking an most featurful systems seem to be done in .asp.  A few decent one in php too.  The perl ones seem like the UI is an after thought."

Sounds to me like insisting on a CGI solution is the thing that is complicating things.  An Access db IS a file.  With PHP/MySQL you can use a web-based tool called phpMyAdmin that allows you to easily create a SQL script text file back up of your DB.  I don't have a lot of msSQL experience, but from what I've heard its got tools that make almost everything easy.

Complicated is what you are going to get when you are trying to redesign the UI for some crusty CGI app.

phpBB forum script has a module that makes a backup of a MySQL db, and it also restores from a resulting SQL text file.  Its probably the same thing phpMyAdmin is doing, but it may be easier to dig into that code for examples of what to do for backup/restore solutions.

Clay Whipkey
Sunday, May 16, 2004

Not using some kind of database for this seems overly complicated to me.

Simon Lucy
Sunday, May 16, 2004

"Complicated is what you are going to get when you are trying to redesign the UI for some crusty CGI app ... phpBB forum script has a module..."

Unless things have changed a lot since I last checked, PHP runs via CGI on most web servers (yes, I know it can also be an Apache module). Maybe you meant Perl when you said CGI. But then, Perl can also be an Apache module.

But more on topic, phpBB uses templates to help organize things. Templates are usually a good idea to help keep thinks consistent and easier to modify; but you can use templates with pretty much any server side language, even Perl.

Tom H
Sunday, May 16, 2004

I guess I wasn't clear.  Really I wanted to stay away from using a database, because I didn't want to spend the time to learn how to stop mysql, do a backup and then copy over the files and restart the db.  That was what was attractive about a script - perl, php, asp - whatever that just used the file system instead of a db.  Although almost no .asp scripts do that, they almost always use access or sql server.

At the risk of offending people here, I'm trying to avoid access for the database, if I go the Windows route I will use msde. 

Actually there are a whole bunch of other consideration I have as well.  Current box is RH9 which is no longer supported.  I was going to use trustix, however on my backup box trustix was flaky.  Other os's didn't seem to be.  I do want to get to one Linux/Unix/Windows version on the production and back up boxes eventually. 

Kind of a pain in the ass trying to find a linux I like that doesn't eol after a year or less.  Yes I could go buy rhel, but I already have a copy of Win2003 bought and paid for.  I don't want to blow days installing Debian.  I even have a friend that will trade even up for his Sunblade.  So I could run Solaris, but that would only be on one machine, the other would be some flavor of Linux.  I rather like the idea of Solaris because Sun supports a version for a long time.  The downside is most of the OSS available for it tends to be older than you get with Linux.  I'm not up for the fun of compiling from source.

Stepping back and evaluating all the options.

Thanks for your replies.

Mike
Sunday, May 16, 2004

>spent the afternoon pouring over classified ad systems<

What exactly were you pouring over those classified ad systems? Maybe it made the colors run, which would explain why the GUI was a mess.

Data Miner
Sunday, May 16, 2004

Whoop ass.  Want some?

Mike
Sunday, May 16, 2004

One more thing about using a DB: The backups most guys were suggesting (using a SQL script) don't require the DB to be stopped to make the backup, but rather just to restore a backup.

The more you know...

Ziktar
Sunday, May 16, 2004

Isn't it also possible to "grab" the data file at the same theoretical time it is being updated? Thus, you have the same potential problem as with a database?

Anon-y-mous Cow-ard
Sunday, May 16, 2004

"Isn't it also possible to "grab" the data file at the same theoretical time it is being updated?"

certainly.  Not very likely - due to the low usage of this website, but even if it did happen, the next rsync would get the file properly.  If I lost an ad or a reply in a discussion during a server failure, it would not be the end of the world.

Mike
Sunday, May 16, 2004

somecopy machines  don't have backup!

debbie
Thursday, May 20, 2004

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