Some Background


Some Background.  This is a case where the names have been changed to "protect the innocent".  Well, not really.

A friend of mine wrote a vegetarian cookbook.  Her main marketing tool was to do Sunday afternoon buffets at some local vegetarian restaurant.  After talking with me she decided she wanted to develop a website.

At times I tried to talk her into developing a database that related specifically to her cookbook and the recipes and ingredients.  She often considered this, but backed off due to her own lack of familiarity with Microsoft Access.

The website was largely quite simple with her bio, some sample recipes and several other pages.  I registered her domain, developed her an email address and so on.  I kept trying to get her to call herself "The Veggie Goddess of Southwestern Maui".  I was going to draw a little caricature of her like she was Venus on the half shell.  But she preferred "Madam Curry".  Big surprise!

But we also decided that we wanted to have some other features on the website.

  • slide presentations of her cooking some recipes
  • capabilities for shoppers to purchase her book
  • some parts of the site accessible only to people who had purchased her book
  • developing an e-mailing list

Hopefully it is obvious that she wanted her email list to include more people than those that had bought her book.

What I actually worked on was a web based database system making use of MySQL.  This had several advantages to what we are doing here.  But let's assume that Madam Curry only had email capabilities for her website.  What she might well do is create a client side database using something like Access to keep track of purchasers and potential purchasers.  So we will pretend this example was not originally developed using a web database and appropriate middleware.

So she needed two main aspects to her web database.  Though, in this course we will pretend it was done as a client database and then discuss how this wouldn't be all that effective!

Madam Curry basically needed two main types of information for her website and database.

  • information of purchasers
  • information on people for her e-mail list

We didn't do any sort of special linkages between the data for purchasers and people on her e-mail list other than to give the purchasers the option of including themselves on the email list when purchasing.

Again, in this simplification of what actually happened, website users that were interested in purchasing and/or being on the mailing list would send Madam Curry an email.  They could also send her snail mail, possibly including a check.  But this actually happened very seldom.

Ultimately, this is pretty simple database.  We will develop much more in subsequent webpages.