Linux/Apache Browser User Interface.

Hello experts,

A little background,  I am a VB6 developer and have very little to no experience with web programing.

My question is this,

I am writing a dictation system, well my Linux coder =), and what I am wanting to do is not write a user interface that is platform dependant.  So my idea was to use some web based code like XML or Perl, flash, or something that would allow me to use it on any system and that could handle frequent updates.  I also need to be able to have user security so that each user will be able to pull database information based on their security rights.

I will learn what every language I need in order to be able to do this and read all the books needed.  I bought an XML book and started reading that but I am not sure if that is what I will be needing to use.  Again I will relay my requirments;

1.Needs to work in a browser, if I have to pick just one brower I will do that because I know IE doesn't work well on Linux =)
2.It will need to be able to relay information quickly to the brower for statistic like job numbers on the system, who is on the system (voice card), etc.
3. I will need to be able to setup users so they can only do what their security rights allow them to do.
4. Will need to be able to send settings and system settings to the database to keep track and then be able to display them on teh Brower user interface.


Like I said I have no experience here and need some help and guidance.

Thanks
UzareeAsked:
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periwinkleCommented:
The most common platform for Linux/Apache web application development can be remembered by the acronym of 'LAMP' - Linux, Apache, MySQL, and Perl/PHP/Python (take your pick).  PHP seems to be the development language of choice lately.  

These languages control what goes on at the server level (i.e. the funcationality behind what you are doing);  for user interface/web-based front end portion, you'll want to know about HTML, CSS (cascading style sheets) and possibly XHTML and XML.

Apache does authentication well - either through .htaccess authentication, or through add-in modules which allow authentication through MySQL.  If you are concerned about data security, you'll probably also want to use SSL (secure socket layer) technology, which will require you to purchase a server certificate.  This will not only help to authenticate who you are, but will also encrypt the data as it journeys to and from the user's browser and your server.
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UzareeAuthor Commented:
I will be using PosgresSQL for our database end will that make a big difference?  I have very little experience with Perl and no experience with PHP but can't see them being that hard to learn.  I have used HTML before but its been awhile, like who hasn't used HTML.  I am being told that PHP will provide dynamic web pages like I am wanting.  I have no problem using PERL either.  The only part I haven't used before is XHTML and XML to an great extent.

With this also allow me to have differnt setting per user?  Some users will not need to see some things and so on.  From what I am getting from the third part of your responce it will, i just want to make sure.
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philjones85Commented:
If you are already familiar with PostgeSQL and HTML, and somebody else is taking care of Apache, then you should have no problem writing this application with just learning PHP. I've written fairly advanced websites that use only these things: Apache, PostgreSQL, PHP, and HTML.  For security, you could setup SSL and have users log in through a web-based form (the entries would be checked against a database).  You could then use PHP's sessions to track the user to give them whatever access they are allowed to have.  The rest is just PHP programming which is displayed through HTML.  It's actually a pretty simple process.

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