really you'd need to get to grips with a server side language once you start looking at databases
1) a MySQL database
2) not much difference in making it writable
3) may aswell populate using the interface for testing purposes or inject a bit at the start
4) see above
id have moderate html knowledge, and a little bit of php/sql adminning knowledge which may help so.you reckon it's a fairly doable project? with things like this what's the usual workflow, where would the starting point be like? naming the different tables first, then building a basic program to connect to it?