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Not sure of first steps in creating a 'report collating' programme. Please help!


I am new to PHP, but have completed the PHP Basics/Functions courses. I'm trying to use PHP to create a program that I already have in Excel-form, but I'm not sure where to start.

My current spreadsheet allows a user to input a list of names (eg: students), and then use a series of dropdown menus to say whether the student has been Excellent, Good, or Poor in a number of categories (attendance, punctuality, effort, etc.).

Rather than simply containing 'excellent', 'good', or 'poor' in the dropdown menus, there are pre-defined paragraphs which basically suggest how well they have done.

Once this is complete, and the dropdown menus all have selections for every student, the pre-defined paragraphs from each selection are then compiled together in a mail-merge to produce a report, reporting on various aspects of the students' progress.

The name of the student is replaced within the paragraphs, and the pronouns 'he/she' and 'his/her' are also replaced.

I know making this will be an on-going project for me for a while, but can anyone help me get started in building this (if my description is any good)?

What should my first step be?

Thanks in advance for any help!