[thelist] Form Generation

Steve Lewis nepolon at worlddomination.net
Wed Jan 28 14:45:01 CST 2004

Manuel González Noriega wrote:

> He's looking for a script that will automagically generate the webforms
> to interact (insert/update/delete) with a given database,
> Such beasts exist, at http://dadabik.org lives one of them and iirc
> other similar solutions were offered
> Or were you just kidding? :)

Not really kidding.  This is the myVisualWebApp idea I was thinking of. 
    The web app developer in a box comment was tongue in cheek. :) I 
didn't know what current implementations looked like or were capable of. 
  dadabik isn't terribly impressive from a first pass through the docs 
but there is likely more to it than I have grokked.

Feingold Josh S wrote:

 > Steve, let me clarify.  I am looking for something like 
phpmyedit.org.  > If people have not yet used this they are wasting a 
lot of time...  It > is not bad, but the problem is that if you want to 
make tweaks after
 > it runs there is no way to save them as you make changes to the
 > database.

I cannot help but equate this to Dreamweaver vs hand-coding wrt the 
quality/flexibility of the resulting system.  I am always leary of 
auto-generated code.  The only way I feel comfortable using 
auto-generated code is when it dumps out something I can then edit by 
hand or augment with my own overriding code.

I would initially doubt I am "wasting" that much time having not used 
one of these systems in the past, but I say that without having looked 
at these systems in detail before. If they can represent highly complex 
relationships than I probably am missing out.  I have not been 
festidious about finding and reusing available code--a bad habit of mine 
which is why I asked for clarification.

I don't frequently build simple web forms.  The last time I did any 
related work, I was building a non-directional circular graph (not a bar 
graph kind of graph, think a network topology map) using data from 5 db 
tables.  I used a depth-first-search recursion algorithm to represent 
the data.

Of course there were 4 data-entry forms used to collect the data for the 
db 7 tables, but I wrote my own configuration schema to configure the 
generation of the HTML form and perform input validation. I had to write 
some of the SQL portions custom to handle special dependancies while 
others were driven off the schema.  I did create the DB tables and 
fields by hand but that doesn't take long--10 minutes? Having the DB 
field-maintenance occur separately seems to have afforded me some 
freedom to change things "on the fly" which may be more valuable in the 
long run.

Hmm, guess I home-brewed my own myVisualwebApp tools, except that I have 
to write the configuration file by hand.  Now if I plug in an XML 
parsing lib to read the config file, write the Schema file for the 
config format, and build an HTML form->XML config bridge I can publish 
my own myVisualWebApp. :)


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