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Being used to desk top publishing software, when I started out providing websites I imagined I would use the 'What You See is What You Get' view in my web design package. But, I quickly found that of limited use - generating verbose code I didn't understand and not much help when generating content using server-side scripting. Now I code by hand.
PHP is used to communicate with online databases and compile web pages to send to the user's browser but it can do much more than that - including manipulating files, image processing and emailing.
In addition to using PHP for websites I also use it for processing data or files as part of delivering a project. For example, I have provided PHP scripts for Regent Typesetting to support production of eBooks. I have also used PHP to clean and format spreadsheet data for import into database tables.
VBA is a Microsoft scripting language that can be be used with Office Applications. In recent work developing Access database with Rebridge Concern for Mental Health, I have used VBA to perform tasks which were not easy, or in some cases possible, to achieve using the graphical user interface.
Applescript is a scripting language built into the the Mac operating system. Its main purpose is to automate tasks, it does this by harnessing the power of applications - telling them what to do, rather than doing the task directly. I have written a number of scripts to help produce projects - converting image collections to web optimised formats using photoshop, for example. I have provided an InDesign plugin for TD Artwork Management - exporting and importing text between MS Word and InDesign, and a couple of tools for Regent Typesetting to help in typesetting books.
RTF documents are supported by MS Word. Being human readable it is possible to use PHP to extract data, format as RTF and then provide a download editable in MS Word. Its fiddly, but fun and used in an Innovation Audit provided by GLE.