[Callers] American Country Dances Online

Alan Winston - SSRL Central Computing winston at slac.stanford.edu
Tue Jun 28 15:19:37 PDT 2011

William wrote:

> It looks like FileMaker4 dates from somewhere around 1997 to 1999.
> (The current version is FileMaker 11.)  I can see that Russell would
> have tired of supporting a database in an old software package on an
> old machine.  It definitely seems like the right answer would be
> migration to a standard database and scripting language, like MySQL
> and PHP or Python.  Mind, the advantage of FileMaker seemed to be ease
> of UI creation, and PHP would instead tie one into deep realms of
> database access.

It seems like you'd be looking at a fairly standard CRUD with a single record
per entry.   (I've had some dreams about an online dance presentation that 
allows commentary, like the Talmud, so you have the source and then people can
describe teaching tips, etc.  But that's really feature creep for what you're
talking about.)  I don't think very deep realms of database access come into
play - I don't think you necessarily even need a multi-table join.  You could
pretty much find sample PHP code for CRUD and adapt it; it wouldn't be a big

> I'm due to find out more about the discussions at CDSS some time next
> week.  Ideally, the ACDOL material could pour directly into a new
> database, but setting one up would take some time.  Depending on what
> I hear, perhaps it'd be possible and useful to get the ACDOL material
> on-line in a read-only form in the mean time...  Hmmm...  Perhaps just
> formatting it, and bagging the database functions could serve that
> end.  With fewer than 300 entries, a page for each dance and an index
> might even suffice.  That'd be a lot faster to set up than an entire
> web-enabled database.

You could add some extra value if you had multiple index pages (which you
could generate automatically, I think, while extracting the individual pages);
index by title, index by title within formation, index by title within author,
index by title within difficulty level.  

But this may be too much to do if the contents can just be poured into whatever
CDSS is doing.  (And isn't CDSS doing some fabulous stuff on the web these
days!)  If you wanted to do something tomorrow, you could just extract to Excel
(or, say, |-delimited ASCII) and let people import it and sort and search to
their heart's content.

All since you asked for thoughts.

-- alan

 Disclaimer: I speak only for myself, not SLAC or SSRL   Phone:  650/926-3056
 Paper mail to: SSRL -- SLAC BIN 99, 2575 Sand Hill Rd, Menlo Park CA   94025

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