Create Your Own Home Address Book Server With PHP Address Book

abook   Create Your Own Home Address Book Server With PHP Address BookIn my entire life, I think I can honestly say that the single most annoying task (and the one I am worst at), is maintaining an updated list of the addresses, phone numbers and birthdays of all of my friends, family and colleagues.

At one point I believe I made a concerted effort to gather and enter just about all of the addresses and phone numbers into an online database that was synced with my new Motorola Android. For a while it worked well, and my Android even synced up with Facebook, so anyone that typed their contact information in Facebook would get loaded into my Droid. It was pretty sweet.

But, as time went on – as usual – I just ran out of available time to update the list. My wife maintained her own paper-based book filled with all of our family contacts, but after a while my personal digital system was completely out of date. I lost my password to that long-lost web-based app, and at one point I wiped my phone while testing out new ROM installs. I suppose I could find that web app and reload the contacts, but I know everything is out of date and it would be a chore to refresh it all.

Lately I’ve been looking for an alternative to using a computer application or a mobile app to maintain a contact database. I believe I found the perfect solution – a web-based PHP application called PHP Address Book.

Access Your Family Address Book Server From Anywhere

Like the other PHP apps that I’ve covered here at MakeUseOf, the beauty of PHP Address Book is that once you install it on your home “server”, you can access your database of contacts from anywhere in the house, and from any device. Connect to your address book with your mobile phone, your laptop, your desktop – everyone in the house can instantly connect to the database to update contacts or to look up information. It’s probably the most convenient solution that works for everyone in the family at once.

Setup is also a breeze. As is standard with PHP apps, you need to have a web server running. Consider installing XAMPP or Uniform Server. Both come with phpMyAdmin included, where you can quickly add a new address book database and a user/password with full access.

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Next, download all of the files to your web server and place them into a subdirectory where you want your application to run from. Use the SQL file that comes with the download package called “addressbook.sql” to copy and paste the SQL query into the field in the SQL tab on your database. Once you run the SQL script, it’ll create all of the tables and structure that the application needs.

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The next step is to open up the config.php file and edit it with the database name, user and password that you’ve just created in phpMyAdmin. Also, if you happen to have a Google Maps key – you can add it in this file as well, but it isn’t required.

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Don’t forget to add an admin password in the config file as well. That’s all it takes, now you can visit your new online address book database at http://your-web-domain/phpaddressbook/

The following main screen will show up.

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This is your empty address book. While my solution is to load this on a web server PC right at home, you could always load this app on your web host if you like, so that you can access your address book from anywhere in the world.

Click on “add new” to create your first contact entry. The entry form has all of the information you’d expect for an address book – address, phone numbers, email addresses and birthdays. Yes, that means once you’re done you’ll never forget another birthday again, and you’ll never lose your contact information because your Address Book is only a click away.

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Here’s what the main screen looks like once you’ve got a few contacts loaded.

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The icons on the right side let you quickly access different formats – for example you can print out a quick contact card for the person, click on the pencil to edit the contact info, or click on the car icon to check out where the person lives on Google Maps.

My favorite feature of the application is the “next birthdays” feature. I’m constantly forgetting birthdays – it’s horrible! Now, all I have to do is put a shortcut in my browser to my Address Book “next birthdays” page – and voila. I can now check all of the upcoming birthdays on one single webpage.

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Do you want a quick printout of all of your contacts in a compact format that’ll fit on just a few sheets of paper? Just click the address book printout tool and you’ll see a printable view of all of the addresses in your contacts list.

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Overall, installing this address book server app either on your own private web server or on your public web host will make the whole process of staying connected with people a heck of a lot easier. Forget about maintaining addresses, emails and birthdays in all different places. Why does every person in the family maintain their own contact list? Collaborate together and centralize your contacts list into a family web-based address book – it’ll make staying in touch a lot easier.

Give PHP Address Book a try and see if it helps you better organize your contacts. Let us know what you think of the PHP app in the comments section below!

Address Book Via Shutterstock

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7 Comments -

Johann

For info, there are a number of services out there that will merge in data from multiple sources (LinkedIn, Facebook, email providers etc) which you can use to make a start on getting a unified address book. Once you have your combined data just export it and import into your contact DB and then add in any extra info like birthdays (although these may be pulled in from Facebook) and addresses.

Personally I find it easier to just use GMail’s contacts as my central repository so the address book syncs seamlessly with my Android handset. A Bit of maintenance on the fly as people move etc and you’re never out of date. sometimes it’s good to roll your own but for things like contacts, email etc I’d rather use a big player than have to mess around making sure I had redundancy, backups etc. Not to mention the convenience of everything being nicely integrated.

rob1951

@Johann
I too think GMail’s contacts is the most promising way forward, I just hope they’ll invest a bit of development effort in it.
I get lots of duplicate entries shown and it’s inconsistent. One email account stores nearly 90 data items per user (including things like Car Phone,ISDN,Radio Phone,TTY/TDD Phone,Telex) the other has 54 data items including some I’d never heard of like Yomi Name.

A Google+ “circles” approach would be great so I could share family addresses with family, business contacts with my work colleagues etc, maybe with shared ownership

Then a mail merge so I could print my Chrismas card address labels…

Ryan Dube

That’s good to know. I gave up on using Gmail contacts a while back – I found that it wasn’t very easy to use. Although that might have changed since then so I’ll have to give it another look. I do like the idea of keeping everything in a central server under my own control though – I guess I don’t trust many companies out there!

chatelao

@all: There is an Android and iPhone synchronization over ActiveSync/Exchange available now in version 8.1.1. – Enjoy it!

Eric Greenberg

Hi Ryan, Johann, and rob,

I started a small company last year in an attempt to solve this issue. It’s called conxt.com and we are just about to release several more features to make it even easier to collect people’s addresses and other contact info with as little hassle as possible (I admit to being a lazy person!). Without getting too much into it, the point of conXt is to be able to easily maintain an up to date address book, organized with tags (works exactly as rob describes), available from any web connected device, and is private and respectful of your data. I’m over 40 so I still give a crap about that kind of thing! If you get a chance, check it out. You can reach me at egreenbergATconxtDOTcom with any questions. Thanks!

Tina

Thank you for sharing Eric!

Mike

I tried installing but keep getting this error and I didn’t even open or change the file that its referring to. Can anyone help?
“Parse error: syntax error, unexpected T_STRING in /home/kings30/public_html/UplandCoC/addbook/include/login.inc.php on line 3″