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I'm looking for a recommendation for technology / software to build a simple web app that my children can use to keep tabs on various things related to homework / household chores etc. As a professional software developer, I'm aware that there are a huge number of potential solutions out there, each with their own pros and cons so perhaps I can be more specific about my requirements:

Functional Requirements

  1. As users of the system, my children want to be able to log in to the site using a standard username / password system so that their individual access is protected.
  2. As users of the system, my children also want, having logged in, to be able to view data relating to them and perhaps perform simple interactions to make selections and enter and store data so that they can update their data independently.
  3. As an administrator of the system, I want to be able to log in to the site using a standard username / password system so that my individual access is protected.
  4. As an administrator of the system, once logged into the system, I want to be able to perform administrative procedures such as setting up children's accounts and set data that they do not have permission to do.

I also have number of non-functional criteria that I would also like to fulfil . The purpose of this project is only partly to provide help my children with administering their chores etc. I've been quite vague about the actual requirements because I'm not looking so much for an existing app that meets my requirements, but a technology stack on which I can build this and other apps. My non-functional criteria are:

  • To familiarise myself with modern web application technologies (not simply to create a static web space), the technology stack etc.
  • The application is likely to need some kind of data store. MySQL would be the most obvious choice but I'm very happy to look at other, perhaps NoSQL, alternatives provided they are (a) current tech rather than legacy and (b) general rather than niche / proprietary.
  • I would ideally like to build this on a Linux platform as I am most familiar with that an am likely to continue working with Linux professionally
  • I don't mind building the app on a home service initially but would like to move this to a cloud service.
  • I would therefore require some kind of cloud web app service. I don't mind paying for this but as it's initially a home project, I'd like to keep the costs low (< $10 / month or in the region if possible)
  • I'd like to focus on modern languages and nothing too proprietary or niche.
  • I'd ideally like this to be something I can get up and running pretty quickly. I'd like my efforts to be going into the business code rather than getting this technology to work with that technology.

Any suggestions very gratefully accepted.

  • What functionality do you need? Maybe ownCloud/Nextcloud would be a choice here (plenty of apps for different functionality available, including calendar, contacts, text editing etc.). – Izzy Nov 26 '16 at 11:52
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You might look at a web wiki engine like dokuwiki, written in php, uses ordinary files not a database, available in most Linux distributions, or simple to install from scratch, many interesting plugins (though many not uptodate). You need to have a server like apache. However, it is not very tablet friendly. There is a live demo where you can login as admin and play a little.

Or consider buying an entry level Synology NAS: its web front end is very nice, and behind it you have Linux and standard tools, and the OS is maintained for you. Plus you get an easy to use home backup and cloud. See synology and try the Live demo link at the bottom of the page.

I'm not affiliated with either of these suggestions, but a happy user of both.

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Nothing wrong with the LAMP stack, but if you are already familiar with that and want something different perhaps using node.js and mongodb

As far as hosting goes, Linode now offers a $5/mo plan now... you have full control, so whatever stack you end up using you can configure to your needs and wants.

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