23.2 Updating Database Records
Maybe someone made an error while entering data into the database. Maybe the price
of your product changes. Or maybe you want to provide a way for your Web visitors
to update their email addresses. In any case, the time will come when you want to
edit a record in a database.
Creating Update Record Forms in Dreamweaver is very similar to creating Insert Record
forms. Both require a HTML form that your audience can fill out and submit. The
primary difference is that an update form is already filled out with information from
the database. It's like a combination of an Insert Record Form and a record detail page
(such as the one created by the Master Detail Page set described in Section 22.6).
The first step in creating an update form is to add a recordset to the update page (Section 22.1.2). The recordset will retrieve the data that appears in each field of the update
The recordset should contain only a single record梩he one to be updated. Therefore,
you must use a form or URL parameter to filter the recordset (see Section 22.1.3 for more
on filtering). For example, on a page listing company employees, you could add an
Edit button that would link to the page containing the update form. If you added a
Go To Detail Page server behavior (see Section 22.7) to the employee listing page, you
could then pass the ID for a specific employee to the update page. In turn, the update
page would use that ID to filter the database for a single record, and display the
employee information in the form. (If all of this sounds confusing on paper, try the
tutorial starting in Section 23.5, which takes you step-by-step through the process.) After
you add the recordset to the update form page, you have two options for building
an update form. You can either let Dreamweaver automate the process with its Insert
Update Record Form wizard, or build a form yourself and add the Update Record
server behavior. The following pages cover both methods.
23.2.1 The Insert Update Record Form Wizard
Dreamweaver can automate most of the steps of creating an update form.
Open a dynamic page with a recordset already added.
Remember, the recordset should only contain a single record梩he one to be
updated. So you must add a filter when you create the recordset (see Section 22.1.3 for more on filtering recordsets).
Make sure the recordset used to retrieve the information for the update form is the first recordset
added to the page. If it isn't, Dreamweaver won't automatically fill out the Default Value field for each form
element (see Figure 23-5).
A form field's default value is the
information visible when the form
first appears on the page. In the
case of an update form, each form
element will already be filled out
with information from the database.
After all, this page is meant
for editing data that already exists,
not for adding a new record. When
using the Record Update Form
wizard, Dreamweaver is smart
enough to fill out the default value
for each form field with the proper
information from the database
(circled in this image). (See the
warning above, however.)
In the document window, click where you wish the insertion form to appear.
Choose InsertApplication ObjectsUpdate RecordRecord Update Form
You can also select Record Update Form Wizard from the Update Record menu
on the Application tab of the Insert bar (see Figure 23-6). Either way, the Record
Update Form window opens (Figure 23-5).
The Update Record
menu's wizard can
create a no-frills
update record form.
From the Connection menu, select the database connection.
If your site works with several databases, select the connection for the database
that this form will add information to. (Database connections are described in
From the Table to Update menu, choose a table to work with.
A list of all tables available in the database appears in this menu. You can only edit
data from a single table, and a page can hold only one Update Record behavior.
(In fact, a single page can contain only one record-editing server behavior. Therefore,
you can't use a single page to add, edit, and delete records; you must create a
separate page for each operation.)
Make sure the recordset you created earlier is selected in the Select Record From menu.
The recordset should be selected already. If it's not, you must have created another
recordset first. As a result, the Record Update Form command may function incorrectly
(see warning in Section 23.2.1).
Make sure the table's primary key column is selected in the Unique Key Column
box. If the column contains a number梐nd it usually does梫erify that the
Numeric box is selected.
The Unique Key Column is used to identify which record to change during the
update process. (For a description of primary keys, see Section 21.4.2).
If you get the following error?Please choose a unique key from the selected Recordset, or Click
Cancel"梩hen the recordset you added to the page did not include the table's primary key. Edit the recordset
and click the "All" button next to the word Columns.
Click the Browse button; navigate to and select a file from the Web site.
This represents the page that will appear after a record has been updated. A good
technique is to select a page that lists the details of the record that's being edited
(like the detail page in the master/detail pages discussed in Section 22.6). Then, after
updating the page, the visitor will immediately see a page showing the changes.
If you like, change a column's settings.
After clicking a row in this box, you can change the Label, Display As menu, and
Submit As, properties of the database column, exactly as described in Section 23.1.1. For
example, if the table includes a Description column that might hold a fair amount
of text, then select Text Area from the Display As menu. This way, the form will
include a larger text box that can display all of the description.
One thing you usually don't change, however, is the Default Value property. Since
this represents the data pulled out of the database for a particular record, modifying
the default value will always change that information in the database.
Sometimes you want to change the Default Value for a column. For example, say a table includes a
column to track the date a record was last updated. In this case, you would make the Default Value show
the current date (instead of the date already stored in the database). When someone updates a record, the
database automatically records the current date in the "last update" field. You can find the ASP and PHP
code needed to do just that in Section 23.1.1.
To delete a field so it doesn't appear in the form, click the Remove (-) button. You
should always take this opportunity to remove the table's primary key梩he column
you selected in step 5. Since the key identifies the record, allowing someone
to edit this could cause problems to your database, such as overwriting data for
Click OK to close the window.
Dreamweaver inserts a table, form, and all of the form elements you specified.
Once you click OK to close the Record Update Form dialog box, you can never again
return to it. From now on, you make any changes by editing the Update Record Server
Behavior, as described next. You're also free to use any of Dreamweaver's editing tools
to format the table, labels, and form elements any way you wish.
After using the Update wizard, don't change the name of the form or its fields. Because the program
that updates the database relies on these names, changing them will stop the update code from working.
23.2.2 The Update Record Server Behavior
Dreamweaver's Record Update Form wizard makes it delightfully easy to add the
table, form, and programming code required to create a Web page for editing database
records. But when you need more flexibility梚f you've already designed a form that
you'd like to use or created a table design for your form梩he Update Record server
behavior lets you keep your own beautiful design and give it the power to update a
You must start with a page that has a filtered recordset, as described in Section 22.1.3.
Then add a form to the page (see Chapter 11). Make sure the form has one form
field for every database column that is to be edited. Don't include a form field for the
database table's primary key. (Allowing anyone to change the primary key could have
disastrous effects on your database.)
Giving your form fields the same names used for the database table's column will speed up the process
of adding the Update Record server behavior.
At this point, the form is full of empty fields. If you preview the page, none of the
data you retrieved from the recordset appears. To fill the form with data, you must
bind data from the recordset to each form field, as follows:
In the document window, select the form field.
Just click the form field to select it.
These instructions apply to text and hidden fields. Information on binding data to radio buttons,
checkboxes, and menus appears in Section 23.3.2.
In the Property inspector, click the dynamic data button (the lightning bolt) to
the right of the Init Val box.
The Dynamic Data window appears (Figure 23-7).
You can also bind data from a recordset to a form field by dragging the database column from the
Bindings panel (Section 22.2.1) and dropping it onto the form field.
Click the + button next to the recordset used for the update page.
A list of all columns retrieved by the recordset appears.
The Dynamic Data window lets you add
information from a recordset to form fields,
so parts of a form can be pre-filled out. This is
exactly what you want to do when updating
information already in the database. In fact,
the Dynamic Data window will display and
let you use additional data sources (like URL
variables) that you've added to the page (see
Select the name of the table column you wish to bind to the form field. Click
You should ignore the Format menu and Code box. The form field is now set to
display information from the recordset.
Once you've created the form and added recordset information to each field, add thepdate Record server behavior.
Choose WindowServer Behaviors to open the Server Behaviors panel.
The keyboard shortcut is Ctrl+F9 (-F9).
Click the + button on the panel and select Update Record.
The Update Record window opens (see Figure 23-8).
Change the first five options, if you like.
They're the same as described in steps 3-7 for the Record Update Form tool in
Section 23.2.1. They tell Dreamweaver which database to use, which table to update data
to, which recordset the record information is coming from, the table's primary key,
and which page to go to once the edited information is added to the database.
From the Get Values From menu, select the name of the form.
Even though you can have only one Update Record behavior per page, it's still
possible to have multiple forms on a single page: a form for editing a record and
a form for searching the site, for example. Select the name of the form used for
is very similar to
the Record Update
(Figure 23-5). The
is that here you
associate a form
element with the
Select a form element from the list, and then select the matching database column
from the Column menu.
In order for the form's information to end up in the proper database columns,
you must tell Dreamweaver which database column you want to store the selected
form field's information.
If you use the name of your database columns to name the form fields too, Dreamweaver automatically
associates the two, so you can skip this step.
Let Dreamweaver choose the proper type from the Submit As menu. As with
step 6 in Section 23.1.1, this choice depends on how your database is set up (which
Dreamweaver can figure out).
Click OK to close the window and apply the server behavior.
The page is now capable of editing information from the database.
As with any server behavior, double-clicking its name on the Server Behaviors panel
梚n this case, Update Record梠pens the behavior's dialog box so you can make
changes to its properties.