CS 4250 Project Part 7
Demonstration: you must email me a link to your website by the deadline, 5 pm on Monday, December 19, 2022. You are welcome to send the link earlier;
I will not visit until 5 pm on the due date.
(Subject line of "cs4250, project part 7", exactly. You should send the link / URL early;
I will not visit your website until the deadline.)
Remember to include the name of your project/group in the email message, and the
names of your project members, and to carbon copy (cc:) your project partners.
The goal of this part of the project is to interface your database with
a programming language and to make it web-accessible. This is the stage
where you embed your database into a complete application. The programming
language that I recommend is PHP, a popular,
server-side scripting language.
(See the class lecture notes for more details about PHP.)
PHP has been installed on the DBH 288 machines. Using
PHP, the MySQL database that you have created can be accessed
via the web, using a webserver installed on
hopper.csustan.edu. Before detailing the assignment itself, it
may be helpful to read the following FAQs:
FAQ: Can we do this part of the project from our own
computer/web server but still access the MySQL database server on
Answer: No. Due
to security restrictions, you can access the MySQL database server on
hopper.csustan.edu only from machines in P 288, either by logging in
directly or by using the web interface you will create
in this part of the project.
Note that if you write your PHP scripts to connect to "localhost" (as shown
on the MySQL handout that contains your MySQL password) and
test them by connecting to an installation of MySQL on your own machine,
then porting the scripts to a P288 machine for project submission should be
FAQ: Can we use a commercial service outside the university
(like AWS or MS Azure) to host our database server and web site?
Answer: No. This is a "learn to do it yourself" assignment.
FAQ: Can we use our own database server and web server?
Answer: No. Students who have attempted this in the past have
too often created web sites that they could access, and the students thought
"everyone" could access, and the grader could not access.
FAQ: Can we use
Answer: Certainly! However, should you decide to use <insert buzzword
here>, you are on your own. We do not have
facilities to support these in the lab, nor to provide technical support.
The sysadmin verified that PHP and Ruby should work, and that is all.
(Ruby on Rails may or may not.)
If you choose to use Ruby, contact the professor ASAP, since some security-related
adjustments will need to made to your user account. (That is the full extent of the
technical support we will provide for using Ruby.)
FAQ: What is an SQL injection attack?
Answer: SQL injection attacks are a common way for malware to invade
DBMSs via the code a web site uses to interact with its database. (Wikipedia's SQL injection page)
Test your SQL injection prevention
on SQL queries that use "LIKE", if you implement the prevention technique
on the ad-hoc query part of your project web page. LIKE queries, with
string matching operators, should work sucessfully.
(Our system administrator required you to do to set appropriate file permissions.
Work our sysadmin did does not "count" as SQL injection-prevention, for this part
of this assignment.)
- Select one person in your project in whose directory you will create
the files for the web interface.
- Create a directory called cs4250 in this person's main web site
directory on hopper.csustan.edu. (Frequently, this web site directory is
- Follow the directions on the MySQL account information handout to make
the cs4250 directory world-readable.
- Place all your scripts and files inside this directory.
- You can access your website at the following URL:
http://hopper.csustan.edu/~<selected person>/<start file name>.php.
Style Guide for your Application
What I want to see at
the end of the day is a single web page that provides a nice interface
to your database. Feel free to do more fancy and creative things, but do
so only after completing this "core" requirement. Here is
a style guide
for what features your basic inferface must provide.
Look at the template carefully. Notice that we are only
querying the database. We are not doing any inserts, updates or deletes.
(That's one direction to look at, if you are wondering how to earn credit for extra
Some how-tos of scripting
Help with PHP
Here are some good documentation resources:
There are different ways in which you can access the MySQL database from
your PHP program.
- The PHP website
- The PHP manual. The
manual also includes unusually helpful user comments.
- W3Schools.com PHP tutorials
- PHP Programming (in 30 minutes) - YouTube video by Derek Banas
- Our library has a subscription to the Safari Books On-line digital library.
O'Reilly publishers have all their books available on Safari, and they publish
some excellent PHP books. Titles like "Head First PHP & MySQL",
Web Site Using PHP & MySQL", "PHP and MySQL For Dummies"
and many others look promisingly relevant to this project. (Your professor has
not read all these books and cannot speak to which is best. Past students have
spoken well of "Head First" books, and personal experience informs me that the
books published by O'Reilly Media are frequently well put together.)
- Execute PHP MySQL On-line, a PHP testing facility provided by http://www.tutorialspoint.com/ (link idea courtesy of C Busby)
Should you find another good PHP/scripting/MySQL documentation/help
WWW page, please let me know and I will add a link here for the whole class to
What you should turn in:
One team member from your project should send the URL for your web
page, where I can access your application. This can be done by
sending email to Dr. Thomas.
I will not grade until
December 19th, so it is fine if the URL you send leads to a non-functional
page at the time you send the URL. (By the deadline, the pages should be functional.)
In addition, you need to compile a project report,
plus source code appendices. More on this below.
Project point distribution:
Last modified: 28 November 2022
- (30 points) Does everything work correctly and do all the buttons
and links that I click do what they are expected to do. I
will see if you are really accessing the database dynamically and are
not just "looking up" the data from some ready made source. I will
ensure this by typing ad-hoc queries. You will also need to make sure
that all query results have column names neatly presented and that
data is clearly tabulated.
Submit your source code (.zip or .tar.gz file) to the CS Homework system along with the report (next item),
or include the source code as appendices to your project report.
(The actual source source code files must be submitted, not a link to some other web site.)
(Stick with "classic," plain .zip or .tar.gz formats. Don't use a newer compression
algorithm, because some of those are specific to one operating system and I may not
have a suitable decompression program.)
- (15 points) A project report where you summarize all parts of your project
in a single document. If possible, include snapshots of your web interface.
This report can be easily created by cut-and-pasting (corrected versions of) all
the previous reports that you submitted (in their entirety), making sure you include the
E/R diagram, the details about normalization, your relational schema
and the queries you created in the previous part of the project. (Do not leave
out significant information, like the E/R diagram documentation or lists of
Include the role of each team member in the project. Clearly identify
the scope of everybody's contribution. If there were any problems
during the course of the project (due to, for example, less than complete
participation by some team member), identify them.
Portable Document Format (PDF) format preferred for
your report. MS Word or plain text also acceptable.
Include your answer to the next question in the document, too.
Submit your report to the CS Homework system.
- (2 points) Explain whether or not somebody who is
truly working in the domain of your application would use your web-enabled
database, or if there is something missing or intrinsically complex
that will deter them from using it. (Is your web-enabled database not
powerful enough for the real world, or too complicated for the real world?)
For example, if you are in the
books domain, would a bookseller use your database? It would be
ideal if you had access to a real application domain person; you could
just ask him/her to visit your web page and give you feedback.
Alternately, look at "similar" systems or web pages and see if they
are doing something differently and if your approach is better (or
worse) and why. Include your answer to this question in your
Please note that there is no
"right" answer to this question nor will you be penalized for saying
that there is something missing from your project. What I want to see
is if you can discuss your domain, your database, and the implications
of the design and implementation decisions you made in your system for the
application domain that you have chosen.
- (3 points) Identify, in English, where I can find, in your source
code, one (or more) safety checks to the code that interacts with
your database, to prevent some type of SQL injection attacks. These do not
need to be complicated; I just want you to illustrate your understanding of the
danger of SQL injection by blocking some possible attack. (A simple if-statement,
in the correct location, will be sufficient.)
- Include in your report a sample, functional SQL query that you tried in your
own ad-hoc query box on your own web site, and that worked.
- (5 points) Neatness, presentation, grammar, style, consistency etc.
- (15 points) Implement some extra functionality.
In your project report, clearly list exactly what you have implemented and
how we can test it. Note that you must implement some extra functionality,
to have a chance of getting up to 15 points. Here are some suggestions for this step:
- Implement more complicated DB functionality: inserts, updates, deletes, etc., or some more complex queries.
- Create a more sophisticated interface for your web application, not just the vanilla style template shown above. If there is a more "natural" way for your application, maybe you will write some cute little interface for it.
- Address other aspects of your application, such as transactions
- Nota bene: the grader will be testing your web site on a laptop or deskop. Extra functionality that is only visible on a smartphone will not be visible.
- (Extra Credit points) If the extra functionality is remarkable, you
can get up to 15 points of extra credit, depending on how complex your application is.