The KML Library Project

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Joined: Wed Apr 28, 2021 4:48 pm

Tue May 11, 2021 8:36 pm

Upfront, I am not an experienced developer, though I've been tinkering since the 80's. I'm seeking general guidance on a personal project I am updating, and I'll need a lot of help on every step here to be successful. I'm going to try to do as much of this on my own as I can, and I intend to document my progress and share my results.

I collect books! In 1998 I had a spreadsheet for my books. In 2000, it was a database I could query locally. By 2003 I had figured out how to display query results in a webpage. In 2005, I used this as an excuse to teach myself some new things, and soon had my first working version of the KML Library Project. V1.0 was basic HTML with inline CSS, v5 PHP, and simple SQL. A simple .js menu gave the user options to drill-down into the genres:

The results screen gave rows and columns in an old-school table with sortable column headers:

This suited my purposes perfectly for many years, and then I had to update php on the database. This lead to a few experiments before I decided I needed to overhaul the whole thing. And here I am.

The end vision is an application optimized for a tablet, that works well on a phone, and has an optional desktop version with enhanced functionality.

I want to build this myself, soup-to-nuts, and stick to simple HTML/CSS, PHP, SQL, and Apache/Linux. I use some javascript already for stats on the "About" page, and I'm not opposed to learning new things about options to bring pages to life.

I've hosted numerous Wordpress and Drupal sites over the years, but I don't want to take that kind of approach here. I'm starting from scratch with everything: UI/display, PHP, SQL query structure and optimization, styling, markup, and responsiveness. In the end, I'd like to have a manageable package of discrete files that can be hosted independently on a tiny server.

My requirements are fairly simple: A website with a menu to navigate book genres, which displays results of major sub-genres as scrollable summary pages with thumbnail images. Thumbnails open to a page with information about the book and an image called from an ISBN API. The website features a few other simple HTML pages, one with .js statistics charts, an "About" page, etc. A future version will include a safe interface to add new volumes to the database through the website. I intend to import an awesome keyword search engine that I developed for the early version of this application, which may end up being another future version enhancement.

So, Hwaet! Where do I begin with all of this? How should I approach design and sorting through myriad UI options? Can anyone suggest design toys, handy dev tools for testing .js, SQL, PHP, etc? In the past, I have always just opened a text editor and started banging things out until things worked. Should I just dig-in and start learning how to create a responsive template from scratch, etc? This is a totally personal project, and I'm happy to make whatever I develop freely available for others to use. I have no timeline here, and I appreciate any suggestions and ideas for ways to build out hte library!

Another question: where on this board should I post my thread to document my progress?
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