I've used databases and ASP for a while now. A customer has asked me to implement something for him, that will let him store info about users (eg. name, date of birth, address, telephone etc.). This would need to be accessible primarily on one computer, but maybe on others as well.
I know that I have an option to create an ASP site, run it on localhost, and let him do it through Internet Explorer. However, you often see (in hairdressers, travel agents, restaurants) kindof like MS-DOS looking programs, (like black screen, plain text) - I think this is what the customer is looking for.
Would I be right in saying that this is referred to as the "front-end"?
I have no experience in this. Could anyone tell me what this kind of technology is/how to develop such a program/where I could get a program like this (freeware or commercial)
Yes what you are seeing is the front end. Travel agents screens look like DOS because they run a mainframe emulator nad connect to a nnation wide mainframe DB. Others look that way because they are using poopy software. Trust me I know.
That said I;d go the ASP route if you are already proficient with it and it will accomplish your goals.
Here, where I live, most of "MS-DOS-like" programs used at the hairdresser's, video-shops etc. are written in Clipper (using dBASE III or IV). I guess that the main reason for using them is that those programs don't change much as the time goes by (hairdresser really don't need the state-of-art application, IASs and DBSs etc.) and they are relatively inexpensive.
Some of programs (like those in the banks etc.) are written in Oracle Forms 3.0 (character oriented), while DB underneath might be Oracle 7 or 8. Those were developed some 5-10 years ago when users worked on VT terminals; now, terminals became obsolete and everyone uses a PC - but, the application remained the same and the PC is used mostly as a terminal emulator.
I guess you shouldn't pay much attention to your customer's request that the front-end must look like a DOS program ... therefore, I agree with Darasen - use ASP.