In this tutorial we use an HTML form to take a site visitors name and comments and add these to the database. We will then use the page 'guestbook.asp' made in the first database tutorial to display the contents of the database (don't worry if you didn't do the first database tutorial, the 'Guestbook database' and the 'guestbook.asp' page are included in the zip file for this tutorial).
Creating an HTML Page to take User Input
First we need to quickly create an HTML page with a form on it to take the input from the user.
In this page we will have two text boxes, one called 'name' and the other called, 'comments', we will then use the post method to send the page to the file, 'add_to_guestbook.asp' that we are going to be creating later in this tutorial, which will add the user input into the database.
Save the page as 'guestbook_form.htm' in the same folder as the Guestbook database.
Adding Data to the Guestbook Database
Now we've got the form, to input the data through, out of the way we can make the the page that does all the work, adding the data to the database.
This page contains no HTML so we can start writing the asp straight away, still don't forget the server side script tags, <% .... %>.
First we need to dimension the variables used in the script, so open your favourite text editor and enter the following code.
<% 'Dimension variables Dim adoCon 'Holds the Database Connection Object Dim rsAddComments 'Holds the recordset for the new record to be added Dim strSQL 'Holds the SQL query to query the database
Next we need to create a database connection object on the server using the ADO Database connection object.
'Create an ADO connection object Set adoCon = Server.CreateObject("ADODB.Connection")
Now we need to open a connection to the database. There are a couple of ways of doing this either by using a system DSN or a DSN-less connection. First I am going to show you how to make a DSN-less connection as this is faster and simpler to set up than a DSN connection.
To create a DSN-less connection to an Access database we need tell the connection object we created above to open the database by telling the connection object to use the 'Microsoft Access Driver' to open the database 'guestbook.mdb'.
You'll notice the ASP method 'Server.MapPath' in font of the name of the database. This is used as we need to get the physical path to the database. Server.MapPath returns the physical path to the script, e.g. 'c:\website\', as long as the database is in the same folder as the script it now has the physical path to the database and the database name.
'Set an active connection to the Connection object using a DSN-less connection adoCon.Open "Provider=Microsoft.Jet.OLEDB.4.0; Data Source=" & Server.MapPath("guestbook.mdb")
If on the other hand you want to use a slower DSN connection to the database then you will need to replace the line above with the one below. Also if you don't know how to setup a system DSN you will need to read my tutorial on, Setting up a System DSN.
'Set an active connection to the Connection object using DSN connection adoCon.Open "DSN=guestbook"
Next create an ADO recordset object which will hold the records from the database and the new record to be added to the database.
'Create an ADO recordset object Set rsAddComments = Server.CreateObject("ADODB.Recordset")
To query a database we need to use SQL (Structured Query Language). In the next line we initialise the variable 'strSQL' with an SQL query to read in the fields 'Name' and 'Comments' form the 'tblComments' table.
'Initialise the strSQL variable with an SQL statement to query the database strSQL = "SELECT tblComments.Name, tblComments.Comments FROM tblComments;"
Set the cursor type we are using to 'adLockOptomistic' so we can move through the recrord set. The integer value for this is 2.
'Set the cursor type we are using so we can navigate through the recordset rsAddComments.CursorType = 2
Because we are going to be saving an updated recordset back to the database we need to set the LockType of the recordset to 'adoLockOptimistic' so that the recordset is locked, but only when it is updated. The integer value for this lock type is 3.
'Set the lock type so that the record is locked by ADO when it is updated rsAddComments.LockType = 3
Now we can open the recordset and run the SQL query on the database returning the results of the query to the recordset.
'Open the recordset with the SQL query rsAddComments.Open strSQL, adoCon
Once the recordset is open we can add a new record onto the end of the recordset. In the next line we let the recordset know we are adding a new record to it.
'Tell the recordset we are adding a new record to it rsAddComments.AddNew
Now we can add a new record to the recordset. The details taken from the form we created at the start of this tutorial are entered into there relevant fields in the recordset. To get the data entered by the user from the form we use the 'Form' method of the ASP 'Request' object to request the data entered into the text boxes, 'name' and 'comments'.
'Add a new record to the recordset rsAddComments.Fields("Name") = Request.Form("name") rsAddComments.Fields("Comments") = Request.Form("comments")
The data has been entered into the recordset we can save the recordset to the database using the 'Update' method of the recordset object.
'Write the updated recordset to the database rsAddComments.Update
We have finished using the database in this script so we can now close the recordset and reset the server objects.
'Reset server objects rsAddComments.Close Set rsAddComments = Nothing Set adoCon = Nothing
Now that the database is updated we are going to use the 'Redirect' method of the ASP response object to redirect to the 'guestbook.asp' page we created in the first database tutorial, Connecting to an Access Database, so we can display the updated database. Note that if you are going to use the 'Response.Redirect' method you must remember to redirect before any HTML is written.
'Redirect to the guestbook.asp page Response.Redirect "guestbook.asp" %>
Now call the file 'add_to_guestbook.asp' and save it to the same directory as the database and the 'guestbook.asp' page, don't forget the '.asp' extension.
And that's about it, you have now created a simple Guestbook for your website, to find out how to delete any of the comments from the Guestbook database read the next tutorial on, Deleting Data from an Access Database.
If you find that you are getting errors connecting to the database then please read through the Access Database Errors FAQ's, practically make sure you have the correct 'ODBC Drivers' installed on your system and if you are using the, 'NTFS file system', make sure the permissions are correct for the database and the directory the database in.