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Getting Started with Xataface


Web Lite is a simple framework for developing data-driven web applications in PHP and MySQL. This tutorial will show you how to get a dataface powered web application running in under 20 minutes.


Web Lite is a simple framework for building data-driven web applications in PHP and MySQL. This section introduces some of the concepts and applications of Dataface.

To fully understand what Xataface is, we must first define a few key terms:

Framework - A set of software routines that provide a foundation structure for an application. Frameworks take the tedium out of writing an application from scratch. (From

Data-driven design- Designing an application around the data that it will store.

Xataface is a Framework in the sense that it is a set of classes and libraries that take the tedium out of writing web applications. It provides a simple web interface to a MySQL database enabling users to update, delete, and find data in the underlying database. The interface is targeted at secretaries and end-users as opposed to database administrators.

Xataface enables data-driven design because it allows developers to develop web sites by first designing the database that will be used to store the data on the website, and then design the pages used to display the data. The developer can focus on the data because he or she does not have to worry about having to build forms to update the data. If the requirements of the application change, the developer can simply add a field to the database table and all associated web forms will be updated automatically (because they are all dynamically generated using the database schema).



  • PHP >= 4.3 (for Xataface 1.1.x and lower);  PHP >= 5 for Xataface 1.2 and higher
  • MySQL >= 3.2.3  (Some features require 4.1 or higher).

Key Technologies

  • PEAR class libraries (HTML_QuickForm, etc...)
  • Smarty Templating Engine
  • Plone Javascript and CSS style sheets

Development Procedures

  1. Identify the data that will need to be stored for a web site.
  2. Design the database using your favorite database administration program (e.g., PHPMyAdmin)
  3. Tell Xataface some DB connection info, and voila! You have an application:

Where to go from here

This tutorial will teach you the basics of Xataface and how to construct a simple application using the Xataface. After reading this tutorial you will be ready to tackle some medium to large web sites with the help of the Xataface reference documentation. You are also encouraged to mail the Xataface mailing list if you have questions.


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