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Paperless Registration Script/App Question

Posted on 2011-09-14
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Last Modified: 2012-06-21
Hello,

I am looking for a good paperless enrollment script or web app for a school that is database driven. I want parents to be able to securely register their students, filling out all sorts of information like address, phone numbers, emergency contacts, etc.

I think there is probably no need for it to be education specific. Any data collection web script should work, even one used for medical intakes or something of that nature.

The critical element is that we want one that can prevent duplicate registrations. We have had a huge problem with that and need a system that can automatically prevent duplicate registrations.

I have tried all sorts of things, including scripts like FormFields (didn't work well and is no longer updated) and more crude implementations like Survey Monkey or a Google form linked to a Google Doc spreadsheet. Nothing has really satisfied me yet.

I do have a lot of web experience, so finding a more complex system would be fine; I could implement it. Note that while I would prefer free, this is important enough to me that I am willing to pay to license a script or service that provides these functions.

Thanks!
Joseph Irvine
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Question by:jkeagle13
7 Comments
 
LVL 36

Expert Comment

by:Loganathan Natarajan
ID: 36540982
I would recommend to you to learn PHP and MySQL from here www.w3schools.com/php/
and try to build your own form and host it securely with any hosting provider like GoDaddy

and some advanced level you can try CakePHP framework to make the form easily
http://net.tutsplus.com/tutorials/php/getting-started-with-cakephp/
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Expert Comment

by:h4hardy
ID: 36541906
Hi jkeagle13,

for your requirement i will suggest to use any ready made cms or open source that are providing you such a same functionality..you can choose joomla,word press and many more are there...

let em know if i can help u more.
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Expert Comment

by:Ray Paseur
ID: 36542139
critical element is that we want one that can prevent duplicate registrations -- how you define "duplicate" is essential.  Can you please give us more information about this part?

Creating web forms that provide for online event registration is a fairly well understood design concept.  ConstantContact and CVent are two of the "big dogs" in that space.
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Author Comment

by:jkeagle13
ID: 36543855
Hello,

I am not sure I want to learn PHP & MySQL. I know enough to be dangerous, but am concerned about SQL injection, XSS, and other issues. I want something more robust than I could build.

Do the CMS systems such as Joomla provide good registration modules?

For duplicate detection, I am mainly concerned about not allowing the same student to register twice. For example, if it sees a John Doe and a certain birthday, and another John Doe with the same birthday attempts to register, I would like for it to prevent the registration and display a message accordingly.

Thank you,
Joseph Irvine
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Accepted Solution

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Ray Paseur earned 2000 total points
ID: 36543933
Almost any CMS system and framework will provide registration models.  ConstantContact and CVent provide hosted applications for this service.  If you go the CMS route you will probably need to make some modifications to the code in order to implement your business rules.

To do what you described with names and birthdays, you would probably want to normalize the names to uppercase with no spaces or punctuation and normalize the dates to ISO-8601 format, then put them together into a column with a UNIQUE index.  Any attempt to insert a duplicate will cause MySQL to throw error number 1062.  You can test for this error and give the client an appropriate message.
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Author Comment

by:jkeagle13
ID: 36558080
Are there any registration systems that support automatic duplicate detection? In the era of database-driven EVERYTHING, I have been extraordinarily shocked at how few resources I have found. I was honestly hoping someone would point me to a handful of scripts that I overlooked simply because I was looking in the wrong places online.

It seems like a fundamental concept to me, to be able to allow online registration and prevent duplicates. Perhaps it is because it is so fundamentally easy that nobody has felt the need to set up a comprehensive framework. FormFields looked VERY close to what I wanted, but it seems like that development was abandoned two or three versions before a truly solid product was churned out with all of the features in place. I was hoping for a link to something similar, but far superior, to FormFields.

Anyone else have other suggestions for a registration system that could be used for a school registration?

Thanks,
Joseph
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LVL 111

Expert Comment

by:Ray Paseur
ID: 36559904
It goes back to this: how you define "duplicate" is essential.

Example: I am just one person, but there are many ways to write my name and birthday.  Here are a few:

Ray Paseur September 15
Paseur, Ray 9-15
Paseur, Ray, 09-15

The list is endless.  For this reason many sites will ask a client to register, and will give the client a "key" that is unique.  Since the key is generated by the computer it is easy to control the values in the key and easy to ensure that the key is unique.  The key may be used in a cookie, etc.
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