Hi dbforum people,

I work for a small company and have been tasked with some IT related jobs that go beyond my area of comfort. Programming and databases have always been my weakness! So, I'll say what I need then hopefully some kind soul will tell me where best to go for help (as I realise this isn't strictly a help forum).

I have setup a simple network for staff (all on XP Home), all through a desktop switch, which then connects to a router for the internet. The only decent computer in the office (XP Pro) has the shared drive with encrypted files. The first priority is setting up a database which all staff can connect to, edit, search and display records - ideally through a html based GUI (most staff would not get on with using an access DB for example, so it needs to be simple).

I really could do with an idiots guide on how to do this, what language is best to use, how to setup a LAN server which hosts it and how to connect to it. I have some VB experience if that is any help? If there are no step by step guides on the net for this, is there a book I should buy instead? Money is an issue, so free distributions will have to be used in the short - medium term.

If someone is able to help me up to this point, fantastic, I really appreciate it. If you are still reading, heres the bits for the future that I have to keep in mind

Next step, customers connect to the internet via our router (wireless, all staff are wired). They don’t have access to the internal network - it would be great if they could search the database when it is populated.

Final step (ideal situation), I am designing and building a website (something I have a lot more experience in, thank God). What would be perfect is if on this website, customers and staff could logon to the database and use it based on their set privileges. If the first step could link into the final step without too much of a headache, that would be perfect.

Okay, that’s it, thanks a lot for reading if you got this far. Any help at all would be appreciated.