Presentations from April 2009 gathering

At last! the presentations from the last Scottish Web Folk meeting in Glasgow on Friday 17 April 2009.


Robert Morrison’s presentation about building “an institutional image request interface on Flickr’s API with PHP”.

Microsoft SharePoint

Frank MacDonald’s presentation about whether Microsoft SharePoint is suitable as an intranet CMS.

CSS Frameworks

Gareth Saunders’ presentation about using CSS Frameworks, with a particular focus on Blueprint CSS.


Everything goes with PHP sauce!

Everything goes with PHP sauce

Everything goes with PHP sauce

Well, I clearly had too much time on my hands this afternoon for me to come up with the above poster, which is now proudly displayed on our office wall!

Gareth @ St Andrews

Creative Commons Licence
Everything goes with PHP sauce by Gareth J M Saunders is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at

Develop custom web applications with PHPMaker

PHPMaker overview

This is not some random advertisement for yet another piece of softare with which to clutter your desktop, but a genuinely useful tool for those involved in developing web database applications.  No, I am not on commission!

I thought that I would share what PHPMaker is and how you might find it worthwhile as I know that until I found it I kept “reinventing the wheel”.  The number one rule in web development is “never reinvent the wheel”; someone else has usually done it before/better/bigger.  So why not use the resources that already exist?  Anyway, enough rambling.

The problem

Postgraduate course information is stored in a database and displayed dynamically on a web page using PHP.  Users can subscribe to courses.  Course organisers can manage the course information and bookings via a web interface.  The interface must allow different user permissions.  Do this by yesterday.

The solution

I could have either started crafting the code by hand using PHP to create the View/Add/Edit/Delete functionality etc.  From experience, I knew that this could take months of coding and bug fixing.  Using the rule “never reinvent the wheel” I trawled Google for software that would automatically generate the code for me.

To cut a long story short, I settled on PHPMaker.  The PHPMaker website gives a full demonstration of how the software works, including an online demo.

In summary, the steps involved are as follows:

Step 1: Setup your MySQL database and table structure.  This can be easily managed using phpMyAdmin.

Step 2: Download and install PHPMaker on your PC.

Step 3: Setup the connection to the database via PHPMaker.

Step 4: Once you are connected database you can then configure the way it will manage the fields in the tables.   Any subsequent changes to the tables structure via phpMyAdmin can be synchronised with PHPMaker.

Step 5: If you have designed your tables to control user permissions you can use PHPMaker to manage user accounts and to create a login page.

Step 6: Decide how you want to final web application interface to appear.

Step 7: Generate the PHP code and upload it to your server.

Step 8: Enjoy!

The software uses an intuitive point-and-click interface so you can experiment with changes to the settings and create the code very quickly.

PHPMaker currently costs US $99.95.  Money well spent considering the amount of time you save.


The University of St Andrews GRADskills website displays courses for Postgraduate students.  The backend is managed using an interface developed by PHPMaker.

Example of the GRADskills management interface