PHP is just a standard scripting language to access backend databases, typically mySQL/Oracle/Access/etc. For you to be able to import your existing data into another type of database, you will need to know the database structure to put what in where. With that knowledge, then you can either write a script or do a manual cut and paste. Different script will generate different database structure. For example, OSCommerce mySQL database structure is probably slitely different than CubeCart's mySQL database structure.
There are many types of mySQL database. Which one are you planning to import the data to?
A mySQL database stores data. A php script will access the data, depending on the request, and output it as an HTML page. So, for something as simple as a "search" function to work, a php script will have 2 parts, 1. The front end where the users will see a search box and input a search request 2. The back end where it uses the entered value and go search a particular part of the database. So, if a user wants to search just item name field, the front end will have to allow that user to limit the request to item name field, then capture that request, search the designated portion of the database listed as the "item name field". It's not something you can simply do without extensive understanding of database, database structure, and scripting. A typical ecommerce script will have this feature built-in.
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