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HTML "run-time-editable" pages

I might be hired for an intranet project.

What I'm suposed to do is to store some "quality process forms " as HTML pages, and allow different groups of users to fill in or not some of the fields.

I think I could use either PHP or ASP to search for the user and his/her privileges ... I'm not sure about the details.   But that isn't hard thing.

Quality director also wants to be able to edit the forms through the same intranet software.  This is, the system might display the forms as Web pages, store information into a centralized DB through them, and allow him to modify that forms the same way you modify a Word document, keeping the changes for the other users.

I think we could say this would be a kind of "meta web page", meaning "pages that define other pages, or redefine themselves".

All this process might be done with a common browser (IE, Netscape)

A little confusing, isn't it?  

I really would thank anyone to help me with this, because I depend on it to accept or decline a good job.

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rbec
Asked:
rbec
1 Solution
 
TTomCommented:
If you are using ASP, you could store the user's information in a database and create the HTML pages on the fly.

On a separate page, you could allow the QD to edit the pages.

Depending on what else the page needs to do and how carefully you code it, you can do this for either (or both) browsers.

You have already predicated that this might be done using a database to store the form information.  As long as they are clear about the parameters of what needs to be done, it should not be all that difficult.

Sounds like a good job to me.

Tom
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rbecAuthor Commented:
TTom,

Thank you for your support, I really see it less difficult now.   I'm only doubting about how could I allow QD to edit the pages without using a common HTML editor ... it sounds like programming our own HTML editor in WEB ... or maybe I'm confused and that isn't necessary, or there are other ways to get it done.

I'm supposed to have an interview with the Systems Chief to get deeper in technical details.  I'll write any new things I know then.

Thanks again.

Rbec
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chris_hainesCommented:
Actually to allow him to edit the form himself sounds very tricky because he would also have to then edit the database itself.

The database could be made in Access and if he has knowledge of Access he could do this, but editing the ASP code would be required to change any of the fields in the forms.

What exactly would he want to change in the forms ??
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rbecAuthor Commented:
We haven't entered in details, but because of what he said, I think he wants to be able to add or delete fields, as well as change the distribution and/or appearance of any element in the page (labels, textboxes, fields, images, etc.).  

Now I'm sure it won't be easy (if possible)
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TTomCommented:
Ah!  I misunderstood.  The QD does not want to edit the information, he wants to edit the FORMS.  That's a horse of a different color.

In that case, I think you may be asking for trouble.  Unless the QD is an "acceptable" web developer, he is likely to cause a mess and then expect you to clean it up.  If he is good enough to edit the forms, he should be good enough to create them.

I just saw a JavaScript (over the weekend) which opens an instance of Notepad inside the browser.  Reminded me of a script I saw running on a UNIX box, which ran a "bin-cat" process to allow qualified users to edit web pages.  This one requires IE, since it uses an ActiveX control.  (if I remember right).

Something like that would work, provided that the QD was comfortable using Notepad as an HTML editor.

However, adding fields to the database is going to require facility with Access, along with HTML facility.

I would be concerned.

Tom
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rbecAuthor Commented:
Tom,

Thank you for your interest in this trouble, but I think I haven't explained it well enough.  

The QD wants to edit the forms, and database fields, but not acting directly on the code.  He wants to be able to make the changes in a simple way, just as you modify a form in Visual Basic.

It sounds more complicated now, uh?, but maybe the worst part is that  I'd just have five months to get it done.

I'll appreciate any comment or suggestion you may have.

Rbec
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TTomCommented:
If you can get them to adopt Visual InterDev as a development tool, the facility for handling HTML forms/databases/etc. is along the same lines.

I am always wary of non-developers who want to be able to change things "directly".  Too many chances for screwing something up.  Unless they understand all the code, it can be a nightmare.  This is particularly true with something like HTML forms, because the code can be so dependent on placement.

If what the QD wants to do is limited to adding/moving/deleting EXISTING databse fields to a form or, perhaps, changing the visuals on a form, you may be OK.

Like I said, VID is a good tool for this kind of thing.

Depending on the complexity of the project, five months should be adequate time to do it.

Good luck,

Tom
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larholmCommented:
rbec, I recently made a WYWIWYG editor with Javascript and DHTML with the look-and-feel of Word.

It allows the user to manipulate a webpage and all of it's elements as if they were writing a Word document, complete with images, image scaling, links, tables and so on.

It works from IE 4.0 and up and can easily be changed in appearance and look-and-feel.

I am currently working on making it work in Netscape 4.0 and up, but since I am making heavy use of some builtin features of IE I'll have to reproduce these (mainly the DHTML Editing Component) myself in Javascript.

Is this somewhat close to what you are looking for? ;)

/Thor
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rbecAuthor Commented:
It sounds like you have just what I need.  Could you show me your editor, or explain to me how it works ?

My e-mail is rupita@usa.net

Thank you.
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