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a_total_beginner_s_experience_with_php-residence [2017/06/28 03:18] (current)
marco created
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 +====== A Total Beginner'​s Experience with Php-Residence /EN======
  
 +==== Background: ====
 + 
 +I feel that given the time Marcos has spent on this programme, I at least should make a contribution to helping others implement a php-residence installation.
 +
 +==== My background: ====
 + 
 +I have never worked in a Dynamic Web environment before – although I have created and maintain my own web-site. ​ This was initially in Frontpage and then Dreamweaver MX and now CS3. 
 +
 +I wanted to add the ability for prospective clients to check room availability and even make bookings for my Guesthouse / Bar. I knew from my personal experience that I always preferred to book on line rather than ask an agency or simply send an e-mail into the '​blue'​. ​ So I believe that this will increase my bookings – a powerful motivator.
 +
 +The installation is now live – but has, I think work to do yet. You can see it:
 +[[www.annajet.co.uk ]] follow the “Check Availability” link.
 +
 +It's only now that I appreciate just how good this system is – but I just wish someone had explained it better before I started!
 +
 +==== Overall Description of '​php-residence':​ ====
 + 
 +It is an integrated package that creates the databases, input and output pages. You do not need any other coding or interaction other than setting up the templates (in the configure menu). ​
 +
 +The system is:
 +  * visitors can request availability via a form
 +
 +  * they get told availability and price
 +
 +  * they can then complete a form as a booking request.
 + 
 +  * The form will appear as an e-mail/​message. The message is highlighted on the php-residence admin screen. ​
 +Reading the message gives the administrator the opportunity to review the booking and simply press a button to update the databases
 +
 +   * also send an e-mail confirming the booking. This can be formatted straight into the administrators mail client or as     an RTF document for pasting into an e-mail.
 +
 +  * The system will then produce reports showing bookings each month, average occupancy, arrivals today (or any particular day)
 +
 +That's it as far as I use it – but browsing around – there'​s lots more, including ​  ​calculating deposits, updating payments clients have made, allocating rooms to outside booking agencies etc. But I have no idea how they work! 
 +
 +==== My hurdles ====
 +
 +=== Testing v Remote Server ===
 +
 +I was busily reading a Dreamweaver CS3 “Missing Manual” to teach myself about dynamic pages – and frankly, this was a waste of time – and led me down a false path. 
 +Try as I may, I cannot work with a Dreamweaver “testing site” on my own PC and the installation on the server. I have the same database names, same user and password (but have multiple users on my local MySQL installation). I simply can't transfer data from the testing installation to the main web server. This caused a major problem in that I had been merrily using the local '​testing'​ installation to maintain my databases by manually entering e-mailed bookings from clients (in the past I simply kept these on an Excel spreadsheet).
 +When it finally came time to upload the data to the web server – I couldn'​t do it!  I used the system to create a back-up file – but when I transferred that to my web server'​s “dati” folder – it wouldn'​t work! I tried many alternatives – but failed – in fact I lost all my data in the process. I was getting tangled up in permissions,​ user names etc. 
 +When I tried to use phpMyAdmin I got tangled up in character formatting problems – probably because the phpMyAdmin 0n the server was older than that supplied with Easy PHP.
 +
 +So, in the end, I had to start again – delete and then re-install on my web server, re-create the tables, prices etc and then go back to source e-mails and re-enter my existing bookings. ​
 +
 +Many hours wasted and some hair loss!
 +
 +**Learning point**: play on a testing server, if you are like me the php will be so advanced that you will rapidly decide to leave well alone – but test the options (Yes, I know Marcos tells you to do this!)
 +//But do all the serious stuff directly on the web server.//
 +
 +=== Creating and modifying templates. ===
 +
 +My plan had been to use php-residence as a back-office and create my own input and output. ​ Again, I have found this to be very difficult (because of permissions/​users/​passwords). ​ Instead I have taken the simple way out and used Marcos'​ forms – customising them using the system he provides – you can simply test loads of options like this – it remembers where you were last – so you can just change one variable at a time.
 +However, I've always used Dreamweaver to do my coding – so I'm really bad at it!  So, I download a copy of the template into Dreamweaver,​ use Dreamweaver to change background, fonts etc – and some messages of my own.  Then I copy and paste the code into the code boxes on the template creator and then let it remake the template. Seems to work OK.
 +
 +My next Steps
 +
 +1.I ask for a deposit only for bookings during my Peak period. I need to find a way to automate this.
 +
 +2.I offer an Airport Taxi Pick-up service – I'd like to add this as a field on the booking form.
 +
 +3.I need to learn how the payment system works – at the moment it depends upon me making a comment on the booking. Not really satisfactory.
 +
 +4.Eventually,​ I'd like to hand the system over to my cashiers so that everyone who checks-in is recorded (we should be reporting this to Immigration). However, we are in Thailand – my ADSL line will be out for multiple minutes 3-6 times a week. The Cashiers need to be able to enter the data locally (presumably using a local server on the PC) and then update the web server. There looks to be an option that talks about this – but no instruction – and I'm scared of the whole permissions '​jungle
 +
 +=== Finally: ===
 +
 +I hope this will prove helpful to others. Maybe my errors were unique – I hope so, it's been frustrating!
 +I hope that others will comment – that's why I've posted this on the Wiki.
 +Maybe someone will help me with my “next steps”?
 +Peter Phillips. ​
 +(If you want to contact me directly – please send a message via my web site or the php-residence forum – I am '​PeterP'​.
a_total_beginner_s_experience_with_php-residence.txt · Last modified: 2017/06/28 03:18 by marco