phpFriendlyAdmin
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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Some of the most common questions pertaining to phpFriendlyAdmin are listed below for your convenience. It may also be wise to review the manual for additional information.

  1. What is phpFriendlyAdmin?

  2. Is PFA free?

  3. Why would I need a tool like phpFriendlyAdmin?

  4. Does phpFriendlyAdmin alter my database structure?

  5. I have a table in my database and described it to phpFriendlyAdmin in the "Tables" and "Fields" areas of the "Admin" panel. However, when I go to view this table I get a database error. What's wrong?

  6. I just added a new user in addition to my "Admin" account. However, when I log on as this new user I can't access any tables or tasks. Why?

  7. What exactly is a "Task"? How do I use this feature?

  8. What are Dependencies? When should I use them?

  9. I defined one of my fields as a "Rich Text Area" type. However, when I view the field with my browser it renders as a regular "Text Area" type. What gives?

  10. After using PFA and then switching to a separate (and unrelated) project, I will sometimes return to phpFriendlyAdmin to find that it has automatically logged me out. Why does this happen? Can it be prevented if I wish to stay logged in for longer amounts of time?

  11. How can I upgrade my installation of phpFriendlyAdmin?

  12. I have a feature, bug, support request or other need that isn't covered in this FAQ or in the manual. Where do I go to contact the programmers?


1. What is phpFriendlyAdmin?
phpFriendlyAdmin is a remote database administration tool made specifically for non-technical people. After your database is set up, phpFriendlyAdmin is then configured to abstract database structure, making it easier for users to focus on manipulating content. Every field and table is given an alias and a description so as to bypass the complexity of interacting with database variables and offer a simplified form-driven approach to data entry.

2. Is PFA free?
Yes, phpFriendlyAdmin is free software (under the GPL) and as such is provided "as is" with no guarantees or warranty.

3. Why would I need a tool like phpFriendlyAdmin?
phpFriendlyAdmin is a handy tool when a web developer wants to clearly define how a client is to interact with a database. Without this tool, a client may be given too much control of their database, quickly becoming overwhelmed by strange variable names, accidently editing the wrong tables, wondering what content must be provided for specific variables, or even altering database structure entirely. With phpFriendlyAdmin the web developer can rest assured that their clients won't encounter these problems, instead enjoying a descriptive and clear path to simple database manipulation.

4. Does phpFriendlyAdmin alter my database structure?
Only once, during installation does it do so by adding several tables that help it preserve the state of it's configuration. This being the case, you must first establish the structure of your site's database(s) with a tool such as phpMyAdmin, before using phpFriendlyAdmin to define how your users will interact with these tables.

5. I have a table in my database and described it to phpFriendlyAdmin in the "Tables" and "Fields" areas of the "Admin" panel. However, when I go to view this table I get a database error. What's wrong?
Well, this could be one of several issues. First of all make sure that the "DB Table Name" of your table and each of the "DB Field Name" fields mirror the name of your table and fields as they exist in the database. Also make sure that the primary key in your database is noted in the "Fields" Admin panel with a "Type" set to "Primary Key" ("Unique ID" in versions < 1.0).

6. I just added a new user in addition to my "Admin" account. However, when I log in as this new user I can't access any tables or tasks. Why?
For the sake of security and flexibility phpFriendlyAdmin requires that you assign permission records for each table or task you would like to allow your user to manipulate. However, this doesn't apply to users who have "Admin" status, as they can access all tables and tasks by default.

7. What exactly is a "Task"? How do I use this feature?
A "Task" is essentially another name for a plugin. By describing your "Task" in the Admin panel you can extend phpFriendlyAdmin's functionality to include your own array of additional personalized tools. If you decide to write your own task it is advisable to start in the /tasks/template/ folder for examples of how to model your work so as to remain consistent with your cosmetic settings and permissions.

8. What are Dependencies? When should I use them?
Dependencies are a way of deleting records that are linked together between tables via foreign key. For example, pretend you have a table named "Teams" and a table named "Players". "Players" has a field that acts as a foreign key to note which team that player belongs to. phpFriendlyAdmin allows an Admin to define this foreign key as dependent upon the anchor field that it refers to in the "Teams" table. Once this relationship is established in the PFA Admin Panel, deletion of a "Teams" record will result in the mass deletion of any "Player" records with a matching foreign key.

You should be careful when using this feature as it is very powerful, but unforgiving if mistreated. Carefully analyze your database structure before setup to determine if use of dependency relationships are right for your project.

9. I defined one of my fields as a "Rich Text Area" type. However, when I view the field with my browser it renders as a regular "Text Area" type. What gives?
"Rich Text Area" fields types are currently only supported by Internet Explorer 5.5 (or above) and Mozilla 1.3 (or above), because these browsers support a new feature known as "Design Mode". If your browser doesn't support "Rich Text Area" it will automatically render your field as a "Text Area" instead.

10. After using PFA and then switching to a separate (and unrelated) project, I will sometimes return to phpFriendlyAdmin to find that it has automatically logged me out. Why does this happen? Can it be prevented if I wish to stay logged in for longer amounts of time?
PHP will automatically log you out after being idle for a certain amount of time in order to conserve resources on your server. This behavior can be adjusted in the garbage collection settings of PHP, but doing so is not recommended because it can adversely affect your other scripts.

11. How can I upgrade my installation of phpFriendlyAdmin?
Not very easily. Unfortunately, at this point in time, the best way to upgrade PFA is to delete your existing installation (along with any associated "phpfriendly_XXXX" config tables) and rerun the install script of the latest release.

12. I have a feature, bug, support request or other need that isn't covered in this FAQ or in the manual. Where do I go to contact the programmers?
Please check out the contact page.

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