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How can I store values globally over the internet?

Posted on 2004-03-25
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Last Modified: 2010-04-06
Sorry about the vague title, I really didn't know any other way to word it.  Here's the problem: Yesterday my dad asked me to make a website for his work.  They deal with gas transmission lines and the like.  He wanted a private website he and his co-workers could use at work that would keep track of what valve was opened or released.

What my dad wants:
He will draw up a picture of the pipe lines.  He wants to be able to goto this website and click on a specific area of the pipe and the entire area will light up, and on the side will be displayed information about the name and whether or not the valve is open or not.  He then wants a toggle on/off switch to be used to change the value of it.  

This is just going to be a representation or a map of the pipes to keep track of everything.  No actual valves will be turned on or off with this :)  And probably the most important part, he wants the values to remain the same whether you log onto the site from home or office, whether you turn on or off your computer, etc.  Someone at his work should be able to map out that a valve has been released, then anyone else who accesses the site should be able to see the current status.

Now for the hard part, the actual programming.  I really have no clue how this is done, being that I only really know html.  Would I have to learn something like java or php for this kind of work?  Any ideas or tips would be greatly appreciated.  I have no clue where to begin.

-Kronikle
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Question by:Kronikle66
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by:Andy
ID: 10679352
Ideally you would use a database to store the pipe area information and the on/off status of the pipe. Most hosts provide the MySQL database. If you are just using your ISP provided webspace get your dad to fork over for a proper hosting package. You will then be able to write some code into your webpage that will retrieve the on/off status and the info from the database and display it to anyone at any time. When you dad changes the on/off status or the information about that area of pipe the page would execute a small piece of code to update those fields in the database. You could protect this action by requesting a password to execute the changes. Personally I use PHP to do this sort of stuff because I found it really easy to pick up.
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skullnobrains earned 1400 total points
ID: 10687603
MAPPING
- use the MAP and AREA tags _ i won't discuss their use further since plenty of information is available over the internet
- simply make it different images or embed a classical link in the image

MAPPING IS PROBABLY USELESS
- can't you have a background image with just the valves being links or if you want the sections to light up one image per section, playing on the transparency attribute (or just another image with just the same drawing and different colours to highlight the section)

you will then need to use javascript to highlight the sections
use getElementById to fetch the image and the usual syntax imageElement.property='value';

STORING
fairly easy using databases (and the good way indeed) but you may also consider using a simple text file to write the informations if you can't use a database. anyway you will need to be able to use some server-side script.

SCRIPTING
use php : it is free, powerfull, easy to learn, available almost everywhere, possibly usefull for system programming as well, the scripting is similar to C thus you can understand C fairly easily when you are used to PHP, and the online manual is excellent and always available which is definitely not the case with any other scripting language (you will find false or even foolish information about 50% of the time at least if you search for javascripts for example)

ADDITIONNAL
the fully-featured version of your project would be something which permits dynamic drawing of the map ie the use of a user function to create each part of the map, linked to the previous : fct(sectionNumber,drawing_direction[Left,Right,...],status[open/closed]).
if the valves obey to a tree-like structure you may consider passing a boolean parameter set to 1 if ALL the previous valves are open...
of course in this case the drawing of the structure is made using a simple form (addsection) with inputs such as (parent, direction, length, ... where parent is the id of the parent valve, and direction could be changed to childnumber if for instance u use a graphical design similar to genealogy trees)

STRUCTURE
the use of a frame for the drawing and another for changes could let you automate actualisation of the drawing frame for monitering and still let you modify things easily through the other page (display and change status of valve x, the source of page 2 only changes when you press a new valve-link)

hope you'll figure out something using this information.
i'm available for help (or project realisation) at alexb_orgAThotmailDOTcom
advice is always free so ask if you need
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