Dynamic select and input drop downs and dynamic html

Posted on 2007-03-25
Last Modified: 2013-12-13
I am pretty new to PHP but I'm getting it (if a little slowly). Anyway, I'm working on a project and I need to create a small survey. I know all about using MYSQL and APACHE with PHP but I need to use IIS6 and MS Access. Anyway, The survey is suppose to have a simple username only login for the first page. On the second page will be all of the survey questions along with their rankings. It will be something like this...
Survey 1
 Survey 1 Question 1  <SELECT DROP DOWN RANKING>
 Survey 1 Question 2  <SELECT DROP DOWN RANKING>
 Survey 1 Question 3  <SELECT DROP DOWN RANKING>

The select drop down ranking value will be 1, 2, 3 (the total amount of inputs will be based on the number of survey questions. For example, in the example above, if there were 5 survey questions then there would be 5 inputs in the select drop down. The user is suppose to select only one each. Now, there are 8 surveys and each survey has anywhere from 1 to n survey questions. I've already got the login, logout and session stuff working.I'm currently stuck on 2 things. First, I can't figure out how to get the table, tr and tds set up correctly. The way it's suppose to show up on the page is that there is suppose to be evenly devided based on the number of surveys. If there are 8 surveys there 4 surveys on the left side (first td) and 4 on the right side (second td). My second and I'm sure a more complicated problem is that I can't figure out how to populate the <select tag. Since these are all dynamic, I can't hard-code anything. Here is what I have so far:

$resultcount = 0;
$query = odbc_exec($odbc, "SELECT * FROM ACTIVITY") or die (odbc_errormsg());
print "<table width='400' border='1' cellspacing='0' cellpadding='0' style='margin: 25px 0px 10px 0px;'>\n<tr>\n<td>\n\n<table>";
while($row = odbc_fetch_array($query))
$blah1 = $row[ACTIVITY_ID];
    print "\n<tr>\n<td><font size=+1 color=red>";
    echo $row['DESCRIPTION'];
    $active = odbc_exec($odbc, "SELECT * FROM ACTIVITY_TYPE WHERE ACTIVITY_ID = $row[ACTIVITY_ID]") or die (odbc_errormsg());
    while($actrow = odbc_fetch_array($active))
    $blah2 = $actrow[ACTIVITY_ID];
            if ($blah1 = $blah2){
            print "<table>\n<tr>\n<td font size=-1 color=black>\n&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;";
            echo $actrow['DESCRIPTION'];
            echo '&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;<select name='.$rankrow['RANKING_ID'].'>';
                  $ranking = odbc_exec($odbc, "SELECT * FROM ACTIVITY_RANKING WHERE ACTIVITY_ID = $row[ACTIVITY_ID]") or die (odbc_errormsg());
                  while($rankrow = odbc_fetch_array($ranking))
                  echo '<option value='.$rankrow['RANKING'].'>'.$rankrow['RANKING'].'</option>';
            print "</td>\n</tr>\n</table>\n";
      if ($resultcount == 3) {
      print "\n</td>\n</tr></table></td>\n<td>\n<table>";
      print "\n</td>\n</tr>";
print "\n</table>\n</td>\n</tr>\n</table>";

This actually works ok (and looks ok in IE) but as I noted above, the html isn't working and I don't know how to populate the <select name so that I can capture it once the user clicks the submit button.

I'm doing this all on my laptop so to show you an example of what I've come up with so far, I've saved the source from my browser and put it up on my friends site. The page is here -

Question by:biglarrrr
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LVL 10

Expert Comment

ID: 18796901
Hmm...there seems to be a lot wrong here.  You're missing single and double quotes all over the place and the output of the html doesn't look like it would be right at all.  I'd suggest checking out and looking up the details on how html tables work.  The main reason your select statement is probably failing is because you're never closing it.  Sorry to sound so sharp, but this should really be 4 or 5 separate questions considering all that looks off.  

Expert Comment

ID: 18807095
As a starter, here's one way to create the dynamic two column table:



while $row = odbc_fetch_array($query)) {
      if (colCounter == 0) {
            echo "<tr><td>";
            //output your dropdown, for column one
            echo "</td>";
      } else {
            echo "<td>";
            //output your dropdown, for column two
            echo "</td></tr>";
if (colCounter == 0) { echo "<td>&nbsp;</td></tr>"; }




Author Comment

ID: 18811707
Thanks Arrivist! The advice you posted worked perfectly. As ClickCentric pointed out, there is a lot wrong. :)  Now I've got to figure out how to get the <select to populate correctly. I'm thinking the html will need to look something like this - <select name=blah[1]>, <select name=blah[2]>, etc. so that when the user clicks submit I'll have an array to loop through and populate the db correctly. Any advice? Or should I repost this as another question?

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Accepted Solution

Arrivist earned 500 total points
ID: 18815007
Ok, lets keep it simple :)
Try something like this


while($activity_id = #get each activity#) {
    while ($activity_type = #get each activity type for this activity#) {
        echo "<SELECT NAME='" . $activity_id . "-" . $activity_type. "'>";
        while ($ranking = #get each ranking this activity#) {
            echo '<OPTION VALUE='.$ranking.'>'.$ranking.'</OPTION>';
        echo "</SELECT>";



will produce someting like (depending on your key values of course):


It should be a simple enough task to cope with the form values after that.


Author Comment

ID: 18826330
Thanks for your help Arrivist. I really appreciate it.


Expert Comment

ID: 18835678
Glad to have been of assistance.

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