Can php launch scripts without user interaction to interact with the database?


I've search on the web and apparently there is no way to launch a php script without user interaction.

Few advisors recommend me Cron but I am not sure this is the right way to go.

I am building a website where auctions are possible just like ebay. And after an amount of time the objects are not available anymore and the auction is considered as finished.

I would like to know a way to interact with the database automatically.

When do you need to know if an object is available? -> Only if someone asks.

And then you have the user interaction you are searching for.

It's something different if you want to, let's say, send an email to the winner of an auction. In this case you'd need some timer set to the ending time of the auction. The easiest way to do this would be a cron job...