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Your First Database
Lesson 1

by Jay Greenspan

Page 1 — Your First Database — Lesson 1

Professional database folks are a lot like magicians: They don't want their secrets revealed. They, too, use all the standard ploys - smoke, mirrors, obfuscation, tedious conversation - to keep you from finding out the hidden truth behind Web-based database manipulation.

The reason for this secrecy is clear. Right now, only a select few can add show stoppers such as "Developed a Web-based database application" to their résumé. And the fewer who can make such claims, the more special they seem.

Lucky for you, ladies and gentlemen, I am the debunker of myths, the exposer of untruths, a man willing to risk the wrath of the chosen few database masters by telling you exactly what they don't want you to know. That's right, following this very sentence, I will reveal the shocking truth about databasing on the Web.

It's pretty easy.

Take a moment. Catch your breath. Have some water if you need it. When you're settled, I'll explain.

You already know HTML can be learned in minutes. The concepts that will get you started in Web databasing aren't that much more difficult. In only four lessons, I'll introduce you to everything you need to know to develop a functional Web-based application. Of course, I'm not going to teach you everything. People go to school for years to learn this stuff. But by the time you're done with this lesson, you'll know just enough to be dangerous. And, as we all know, the more dangerous you are, the sexier you appear. Make it through this tutorial, and you will be one sexy person.

Sound good? I thought so.

Now that I've got you properly motivated, let's take a look at what we'll cover in this four-part tutorial:

In Lesson 1 (which, conveniently enough, is what you're reading right now), we'll take a quick look at the background of databasing. We'll also go over the purposes of a data-driven site. Then I'll show all the tools you'll need to get started. And we'll finish up with a glimpse at the site we're going to develop over the course of this tutorial.

In Lesson 2 I'll show how you need to think about data and how to hook your database to a Web server.

The real fun comes in Lesson 3, where we'll take a lightning-fast tour of the elements involved in creating data-driven active server pages (ASP). VBScript, SQL, the ActiveX Data Object, and HTML forms are just some of the highlights.

We'll finish up by putting it all together in Lesson 4. By the time you're done, you'll be building pages like the pros.

Ready? Let's get started by taking a look at the benefits and applications of data-driven sites.

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