You can't do a database front end (the program that uses the database) in HTML, since HTML is content and you need program code to front end a database.
If the database is common (IOW, a single database on a server that's accessed by the web server or the standalone programs) and the standalone programs are running in web browsers (they have to if they're written in HTML), you're gaining nothing - just use your PHP code to create the web pages that the "standalone" computers will see. Why write different code for some computers, when they can all use the same code. (If the "standalone" computers don't have access to the server the PHP code is running on, they don't have access to the database, so it won't work. If they have access to the database, they can just run the PHP code on the server.)
I think you're confused about the difference between what a web browser does and what a standalone program does. (A standalone program would run if the computer were in another galaxy - it has everything it needs - including the database. If it's running the "common" database - the one on the server - it can also run the code on the server.
If you really MUST make them not-web-browser programs, write them in anything that can use ADO to access the database. (Accessing a MySQL database in ADO is as easy as accessing an Access database in ADO. The connection string changes and there are a few trivial syntax differences, but the SQL in the PHP code and the SQL in the standalone can be identical. Write once, use many.)
The database itself? ANY SQL database. MySQL is vigorous, solid and free, so why not use it?
Systems analyst and programmer for 36 years
· 1 decade ago