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Using DaDaBIK to create a PHP CRUD Database Front-End without coding - PHP Classes blog

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Author: eugenio tacchini

Posted on:

Categories: PHP Tutorials

DaDaBIK is an Open Source PHP project which allows you to create Web front-end and simple database applications without coding. The new stable version 4.4 of DaDaBIK was released recently.

Read this article to learn more about DaDaBIK and how you can use it to productively create your PHP applications.




Picture of eugenio tacchini
By eugenio tacchini Italy
<email contact>

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Contents

Introduction

History

Features

Screenshots

Other features

Typical uses

Tutorial

Conclusion

Introduction

Writing CRUD database front-ends and simple database applications is a very common task that almost all PHP developers need to implement. It is usually a simple job to accomplish, but is also time consuming, boring and error-prone to implement.

Software developer’s tend to avoid time wasting and repetitive tasks in favor of more challenging tasks. This lead to the development of applications with the goal to automate front-end development.

History

DaDaBIK is one of the precursors of this kind of applications for automated creation of PHP front-ends. Released initially in the year 2000 by myself, Eugenio Tacchini, the project continues to be actively developed until today.

The project’s long history of development allowed it to reach important goals in terms of stability and popularity, with hundreds of thousands downloads, adoption by big organizations, and translation of the application to 17 languages thanks to the help of many volunteers.

Last month, the long awaited new and stable version 4.4 of DaDaBIK was released. Many bugs have been fixed, some of them were critical, so this release can clearly be considered as a new milestone for the DaDaBIK project.

Features

The way DaDaBIK should be used is very simple. If you already have a database and want to create a front-end for it, you just need to do the following:
  • Set a few configuration parameters in the config.php file (database host address, database user, database password, etc... ) 
  • Install DaDaBIK running install.php
  • Configure your final application through a graphical interface, executing admin.php.

The time you need to finalize your work obviously depends on the number of tables involved and on the level of customization you need, but a simple front-end for inserting, updating, deleting  and searching records can be ready to use for you or your users in a few minutes.

DaDaBIK provides you a lot of flexibility to customize your application. For example, for each form field you can choose:
  • The label
  • The HTML input type (a textbox, listbox, file upload, etc...)
  • The allowed content (alphanumeric, numeric, e-mail, etc...)
  • The possible values, eventually taken from another table (“foreign key” support)
  • If the field should be to be displayed and in which forms
  • Etc...

Screenshots

Customization of a form field

Screenshot 1

Results page

Screenshot 2

Record editing

Screenshot 3

Search form

Screenshot 4

Other features

Other features include master/detail views, export to CSV, checking for possible duplication during  insertion, authentication and authorization restrictions on view, update, delete actions, e-mail notifications.

It is important to highlight that the applications produced with DaDaBIK can be easily updated if you modify your database schema, such as when you add or delete tables, add or delete fields, or change field names.

DaDaBIK uses the ADOdb and the PDO database abstraction libraries in order to support as many types of database systems as possible. At the moment it officially supports MySQL, PostgreSQL and SQLite.

While in the past DaDaBIK supported both Oracle and the Microsoft SQL Server, the in version 4.4 the support to those databases was suspended. This is due to the work necessary to maintain the support to such database types and  the fact there there is less interest on the part of current DaDaBIK users on such databases.

Typical uses

Before using DaDaBIK many users ask about eventual similarities with PHPMyAdmin. These two applications are actually very different. DaDaBIK was not created to provide complete administration of a database, but rather to allow the creation of a customizable and user friendly database applications.

The target audience of a DaDaBIK application is mainly the final user rather than database administrator, as the application you create can be easily used by anyone, even someone who has no idea what a database is. For this reason, DaDaBIK is typically used for:
  • Creating data entry Web applications
  • Creating back-end administration pages for Web sites
  • Provide public Web access to archives of data

For an example of the latter, see the World Oral Literature Project by the University of Cambridge.

Tutorial

For a complete tutorial I have produced this video that gives a live step by step demonstration on how to use DaDaBIK to build a common CRUD based PHP database application. This is the first episode of a series of video tutorials about DaDaBIK available on YouTube.

Conclusion

I have just introduced DaDaBIK, an application which can be used to develop PHP CRUD front-ends and simple database applications without coding.

Further information, documentation and instructions on how to download the application can be found in the official DaDaBIK Web site.

If you have other questions not answered here, feel free to post a comment on this article.


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Comments:

6. Thumbs up - Jamie Booth (2012-09-13 20:53)
DaDaBIK User for 6 years and going... - 0 replies
Read the whole comment and replies

2. Extortionists! - Garry (2012-07-27 17:40)
Perhaps this is great, but the authors of disgust... - 16 replies
Read the whole comment and replies

5. No commercial problem with this - A H (2012-05-27 12:23)
GPL is 'free' but free support, get real...!... - 0 replies
Read the whole comment and replies

4. NOT Gratis Open Source - Jurgen_v_O (2012-05-13 19:59)
DaDaBIk Is NOT Free in the sense of Price... - 0 replies
Read the whole comment and replies

3. The real crime here - bob (2012-05-13 11:51)
10 years really ?... - 0 replies
Read the whole comment and replies

1. Is great! - Arval Ikari (2012-05-11 03:02)
Save a lot of time when we create a special website... - 1 reply
Read the whole comment and replies


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