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PHP & MySQL Applications

PHP and MySQL are the ultimate pair for web-based scripting and database applications. The PHP syntax is a whole lot more natural than Perl, the available PHP libraries are huge, and I'm told it runs fast. Pair PHP with a MySQL database backend and you can pretty much do anything.

I recommend the following books on PHP and MySQL if you're serious about writing database driven web applications:

  • Programming PHP by Rasmus Lerdorf and Kevin Tatroe
  • Web Database Applications with PHP & MySQL by Hugh E. Williams and David Lane

I've got tons of ideas for database web-based applications I'd like to write. So far the only completed application is a comprehensive web-based club membership system. I do use PHP and MySQL in other places for other purposes (contact lists, map databases, articles that sort themselves into categories, reusing HTML code, etc.).

Web-Based Club Membership Software

Here's the problem. You run a small club with about 1500 members. You need to keep track of donations and memberships, generate renewal notices, generate newsletter mailing labels, generate thank you letters, update addresses when people move, recognize your big donors, keep things from turning into a mess, and not let anything fall through the cracks.

COHVCO use to try to do all this with an Excel spreadsheet. It didn't work at all. I wanted to learn PHP and MySQL so I wrote some membership software. Here's the feature list:

  • Permits members to join and renew and pay using a variety of methods.
  • Permits members to check the status of their membership and payments at any time.
  • Permits members to update their own contact information.
  • Uses PayPal's backend APIs to automatically credit PayPal payments to a member's account.
  • Generates a PDF file of thank you letters to mail for every join, renewal, and donation.
  • Generates a PDF file of renewal notices to mail.
  • Generates mailing labels of non-expired members for a club newsletter.
  • Tracks each and every donation separately.
  • Generates a list of big donations and donors for the newsletter.
  • Generates an always up-to-date list of member businesses for the COHVCO website.
  • Generates an always up-to-date list of member clubs for the COHVCO website.

That's it in a nutshell. All the requirements for running a membership driven organization boiled down to a dozen or so PHP scripts with a MySQL database behind them. If you're interested in using this software, send me a message because I may be interested in selling it or at least hosting other clubs databases for a fee (gotta pay for my riding gear somehow or another).