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I am looking to setup a site that searches inventory. Something like AutoTrader (as far as the searching goes). Basically just enter vehicle make, year, etc and the results appear. What language would I write this in? As you already guessed I know nothing about databases, can someone give me some resources so I can get started? Thanks for the help!

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Last Post by Troy
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Not sure why nobody replied to this earlier. I just saw it. Well, you will have data obviously. So you'll want a database. And you'll need a programming language, you already know that. You'll also need a webserver. You know that, too, of course. The architecture you use depends on a few factors. If you do not have any existing architecture--you can start from scratch--then I highly recommend the LAMP solution. LAMP is an acronym for Linux, Apache, MySql, PHP. Now if you told me, "I already have a Windows server hosting account, and a web license for SQL Server, and my mom is heavily invested in Microsoft (MSFT), then I might tell you to go the ASP/VBScript/SQL Server route.

In my opinion, PHP as your scripting language and MySql as your database is a VERY hard combo to beat. I've been a professional ASP/VBScript/SQL Server developer for about 6 years. I started using PHP/MySQL about 1 year ago. It took me all of 2 weeks to fall in love with PHP, it's powerful and easy to use. MySql is excellent, and free. SQL Server costs about $5,000 per processor to license for use in a public website.

Like most things, getting started is the hardest part. If you want to learn this stuff, I recommend you get a webhosting account with a hosting provider who will give you PHP and MySql along with phpMyAdmin (a browser-based MySql administration tool). Some people may say, set it up on an old computer at home to learn--don't waste your money on hosting until you learn it. But honestly, setting this stuff up for a newbie can be totally overwhelming.

One more thing, a lot of people run PHP and MySQL on Windows, but if you are starting out, and have a choice, I recommend Linux as your OS simply because PHP and MySql are native to Linux. Windows works, but you'll find more problems where some things don't work as documented, or you have to do special tweaks to make it work the same as it does on Linux. This is not a Windows bash--it's just a fact that PHP and MySql were natively programmed to work on the Linux and Apache platform.

I also am a hosting company, so you can contact me for hosting. I charge about $9/month for an account with MySql and phpMyAdmin. There are lots of options out there, though. Some have lower prices than mine, so do your homework.

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