I have a friend who's asked about having me build his small genealogy group a website and they want to be able to post databases online that they can both update, allow others to search, and maintain on their computers. None are what you'd call proficient at coding of any kind. The thing is, they're asking if a site can be built that would allow them to use their pre-existing databases.

Now, the catch is...they all use Microsoft Works. Just happens to be what they all have as it comes on pretty much every Windows box, pre-loaded. My question is, if I create a site for them, will it be possible for me to use standard ODBC and PHP to allow them to do the following:

1. Someone to upload a Works database (I think they use some .wdb file ending or could use a standard .dbf format) that can be used in conjunction with PHP to output dynamic results.

2. Someone to edit the database online if need be, through a graphically designed interface.

I'm fairly new to relational and dynamic databases myself, having mostly used static databases in the past and being more of a designer than developer. I am confident that if it can be done with PHP, I can code it, just not sure if Works will allow me to do what needs to be done. Since they all swap databse files regularly, and they've put a lot of hours into compiling them, that's what they want. I'm not going to get payed...this is a favor for a friend, and I don't really have the time to bone up on MySQL just now though I plan to in the future.

Just as an aside...I was wondering if anyone else saw any potential in the idea of using Works for databasing on the web? Realistically now...not talking huge eCommerce relational databases, but perhaps for small groups or businesses who simply need to get an inventory online or maintain an employee database.

A thought hit me when he said, it's what came on everyone's PC... If it could be used as a small relational database, it could make sense to use it in small distributed applications that included a small server and the database file. Just seems if it's usable, it would save people shelling out for Access when they already have Works on their PC. Just curious what others might think...