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  Copyright (C) 2003 John Gorman <hide@address.com>

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<a href="http://www.webbysoft.com/codekit">CodeKit</a>

CodeKit is an interface to a universal database code table.
CodeKit takes all of the programming work out of maintaining
multiple database code definition sets.

The code administration page lets you define new
virtual code tables and enter all codes and their descriptions.
Perl and PHP classes retrieve the code descriptions
and automatically generate HTML code selection elements.

<h4>Traditional Code Set Implementations</h4>

Code sets are an important part of any database.
They define the choices available for codified fields
and supply the human readable descriptions for display purposes. 

Code sets are usually implemented as database tables,
one physical database table for each set of codes.

Each database table typically needs an administration
data entry page to allow for code set entry and upkeep.
Also, each use of each code set requires similar
but slightly different SQL and application code,
an opportunity for bugs to slip into the applications.

<h4>Universal Code Table</h4>

A universal code table replaces all of the traditional individual
database code tables with a single database table which
is structured to hold all of the code sets in the
entire database.

This saves a <b>lot</b> of programmer work in setting up
the tables and eliminates the need to write multiple
code set administration data entry pages.  CodeKit
provides code administration utilities written in
both PHP and Perl.

A single database table makes it easy to write an
API for each language of interest to perform common
operations such as looking up a code description
or displaying code choices to the user.  CodeKit
currently provides APIs for PHP and Perl.

<h4>Code Set Display Order</h4>

It is often necessary to specify the order in
which code set choices are displayed to the user.

CodeKit has a numeric code order field associated
with each code value.  The sort is first by code order
numerically, then by code value lexicographically.

The code order field can be specified at data entry time.
If the order field is not specified and the code value
is numeric then that numeric value is used as the
code order value.  This keeps numeric code values
sorted numerically by default.

<h4>Deprecated Codes</h4>

Sometimes codified choices go out of date and are
no longer available for user selection.  Simply
removing an obsolete code from the code set creates a
problem when it comes time to display the code
descriptions for obsolete code values which are still
in the database.

The solution is to mark obsolete codes as deprecated
without removing them from the code set.
This leaves the obsolete code descriptions
in the code set for display purposes, but does
not allow new data entry selection of deprecated
code choices.  CodeKit fully supports deprecated codes.

<h4>Phrase and Paragraph User Interface Text</h4>

If you have a web site or user interface which needs
to display pieces of text CodeKit can help with the
storage and retrieval of phrases and paragraphs.

One approach is to create a code set called 'phrase'
and another called 'paragraph'.  The phase set
is used for one line words and phrases.
The paragraph set can hold multiline paragraphs
or pages of text.  Check the 'Multiline Set' box
when creating the paragraph set.

For software modularity it helps to use code values which
are a combination of the module using the phrase
or paragraph and a short name such as 'member-accepted'
and 'credit-disclaimer'.  That way you will know
exactly which modules will be affected by a change
in phrasing.  Some phrases may be so universal as
to be invariant, so those can be shared between
modules as in 'shared-hello'.

<h4>Parameter Sets</h4>

It is often a good idea to keep any application parameters
separate from the application code so that they can
be changed without source code changes.  Parameter
sets are a excellent way to accomplish this.
Use the data() method to get the data.

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