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Web Hosting - Databases, What Are They and Do You Need One?
'Database' is one of the most commonly used terms that one encounters in web site design. Yet, what they really are and whether they're essential is often not clear to novices.
A database is a collection of organized data, stored in files that have a specific structure. It's that organization and structure that allows for easy and rapid storage and retrieval.
The need for a database generally only arises when you have a certain amount of information and that information needs to have some structure. If you have a half-dozen names and addresses to store, a database is usually overkill. If you have a blob of data with no relationships between any of the items in that blob, maintaining a database is usually more trouble than it's worth.
Maintain a database? Yes, like other complex systems a database, to be effective, needs to be designed properly at the outset then kept 'tuned' for good performance. The alternative is to gradually allow the database to become more and more disorganized. That leads to difficulty in use, poor speed of retrieval and more frequent failures.
With MySQL, Access or MS SQL Server, the three most common choices of database product for web sites today, setting up a database is relatively simple. Even those with limited technical skill can get one up and running just by following some simple instructions. But some thought should be given to how you want the information organized, and to maintaining the system during its lifetime.
Suppose you have a set of names, addresses, email addresses, products purchased, date purchased and amount. If you have only a few dozen records it matters very little how these pieces are arranged and related. A database usually isn't even warranted in this scenario. Once you have several thousand or more records, it matters a lot. Speed, the ease of expanding the set of attributes (like adding, say, product category), and other issues come into play.
Even those with little technical expertise, but a willingness to exert logical thought and invest some time, can build a very robust database. Think about how you would organize a set of data (called 'tables'). Should Name, Address, and Product be in the same table? Or should the personal information be stored in one table and any product information (product, price, ...) in another?
Some experimentation may be needed to get it right, but the choices have an impact on how easy the tables are to maintain. It also affects the speed with which programs can fetch old data and store the new.
Having a database also introduces new maintenance issues for the server administrator, since backups usually need to be done differently. Recovering a failed database is usually more complicated than simply re-copying files from yesterday. Ask your hosting company what tools and skills they have for dealing with any database system you consider.
It's true that introducing a database creates more complexity and the need for additional thought and administrative effort. At a certain level, professional expertise will be needed. But clearly the advantages outweigh the costs in many cases. Companies large and small eventually use databases to store and organize data. At some point, you may be fortunate enough to be one of them.
Definition of copyright infringement Protect Yourself: Know the Definition of Copyright Infringement As you?re creating something, you may wonder what copyright infringement actually is. It?s necessary, if you?re creating a work ? albeit written, musical, videos, software or some other form ? that you know the definition of copyright infringement. This issue is very complicated, and not very easily spelled out in plain English, so please make sure that if you?re ever unsure to contact a copyright lawyer immediately to ensure you?re using copyrights in a legal method appropriate to the medium. As I mentioned earlier, a definition of copyright infringement is difficult, at best. Copyright infringement is defined by the jurisdiction ? the United States of America has different copyright laws than the United Kingdom, or Australia, or Russia, or even China. Because of this fact, you should first, before anything else, check the laws in your jurisdiction (country, city & province) before using something that isn?t in the public domain. For our definition of copyright infringement, the public domain is a place where works are that aren?t copyright-able. Works that aren?t copyright-able include ideas, works that aren?t eligible (150 years-old documents, or older ? think Beethoven and Frankenstein), data that isn?t categorized in a creative way (this could be a database, such as a phone book or other publicly-accessible data), or items that the owners have specified creative commons copyrights. As you can see, copyright law is rather complicated. Wikipedia.org gives us the definition of copyright infringement as: ?Copyright infringement (or copyright violation) is the unauthorized use of material that is protected by intellectual property rights law particularly the copyright in a manner that violates one of the original copyright owner's exclusive rights, such as the right to reproduce or perform the copyrighted work, or to make derivative works that build upon it. The slang term bootleg (derived from the use of the shank of a boot for the purposes of smuggling) is often used to describe illicitly copied material.? Our definition of copyright infringement includes the works of creative commons. Creative commons is an organization that allows for the copyright author to determine the uses available for people who want to use their works ? for such items as for audio, images, video, text, educational materials, and software. It allows for the copyright owner to allow people to use their works for non-commercial, commercial, no derivatives, share alike, or just by giving attribution. Creative Commons is a license granted by the copyright holder, and can be used in both online (electronic internet) works and offline works. There are many places you can go to get a definition of copyright infringement. The most reliable definition of copyright infringement would be from your local copyright lawyer ? they will know exactly what in your jurisdiction is legal or not, and how you can use other peoples? works or protect your own. The real definition of copyright infringement comes from your jurisdictions statutes. In the United States of America, our jurisdiction?s copyright laws are contained in Title 17 of the United States Code, §501 - §513. You can also find a definition of copyright infringement through such organizations such as the European Union or World Trade Organizations. While s legal country or organizational definition of copyright infringement is hard for the layperson to understand, a copyright lawyer will help you to figure out what it is that your work needs to be protected against copyright infringement, or to protect yourself if you intend to use the work of another writer, director, or musician.
Web Hosting - Unix vs Windows-Based Hosting, Which Is Better? An operating system functions largely out of sight, or at least is supposed to. It doesn't matter to non-geeks how a file gets stored, or how memory is used, or how simultaneous processes share the limited resources available on a computer. These are among the basic functions of any operating system. Yet, you can find very passionate supporters - who offer very detailed lists of pros and cons - for every operating system. Why? Because, though the low-level functions of an operating system do their work out of sight, there are many other features that rise to visibility. Sometimes, they do so when they're not supposed to. Weighing the pros and cons objectively could consume a book. But to select a web host operating system, a manageable level of considerations apply. They can be weighed even by those who don't know a processor queue from a pool cue. Learning Curves For most web site owners, administering the site/server is just overhead. It's not something they take pleasure in doing and they have plenty of other things to worry about. Many wouldn't know how and have no interest in learning (rightly so, given their priorities). Consequently, ease of administration is paramount for such people. Whether a Unix-based site (usually Linux these days) is easier to administer than Windows depends on your current skill set and the type of tools and level of access the web hosting company provides. But in general Linux is more difficult to install and maintain than Windows and the learning curve is steeper. FTP and Control Panels Often, you don't have to care. For many, the operating system is fairly transparent. FTP file transfers to get a new web page up to a Windows server are very much like they are to a Linux-based site. The user/administrator simply doesn't see what's behind the curtain. Many companies provide other utilities that completely mask any awareness of the operating system underneath. When that's the case, the web site owner has no reason to care, until or unless they need or want to go 'inside the black box'. Performance Performance issues can be relevant in selecting which operating system host type to choose. But for the most part, that aspect is outside the web site owner's control. Overall performance can be good or bad on either system, depending on many factors that the publisher will rarely see. The issue is a wash, as far as tipping the scales is concerned. What is more likely to be seen by a web site owner, at some point in their (and their site's) development is the database product that can be used to store information. Databases Microsoft SQL Server is relatively simple to use, yet extremely powerful and can deliver great performance. But it doesn't run on Linux. At least, not without special software to emulate Windows, which usually kills performance. On the other hand, with a bit of time invested, MySQL isn't significantly more difficult to learn than MS SQL Server and there are many free installations. Cost may well outweigh other considerations for most on this issue. Programming Languages Last, but not least, there are differences in programming languages that can be (or at least typically are) used on Windows vs Unix. If you have programmers who are skilled in Visual Basic, ASP and other Microsoft technologies, then a Windows-based host will be your preferred choice. For Perl and PHP programmers, Linux is the more common platform of choice. No single factor can push you to one versus the other operating system. And, in the long run, it isn't the primary consideration, unless you just enjoy playing with operating systems.
Publishing a Book is the Final Frontier (book publishing) Many authors begin their careers intending to publish a book. Book publishing is a difficult task to accomplish. It takes many months of work and extensive preparation. A book involves intricately woven ideas. A book is a project. In that project is contained many other projects. Most people are not prepared for the intensive process that is involved in creating a full, coherent book. If book publishing is something that you are interested in trying, there are a few things you should keep in mind. First, writing a book is like nothing you have ever done before. It will take extensive and intensive work and development. It will also probably include much of everything you know, and more. Read on for more clarity. Uncharted Territory Book publishing is like a new land that has never been explored before. Of course, there are several book authors out there. They have been around for centuries. Unlike other areas of expertise though, book writing is not something that will be the same process for several different people. As you set out to write a book, you will be able to follow some basic guidelines, but getting your ideas from your head to the page will be an invention of your very own. Not only will you have to get the information onto the page, but you will have to write in a way that thousands or even millions of readers will be able to relate to and understand. Again, that will be a process that will take experimentation and trials. As you begin the process of writing your first book, as well as subsequent books, expect to work and rework. One Idea Is Not Enough Part of the reworking process is the changing of direction within the writing. Many beginning writers aspire to book publishing. They have an idea and vague plan to turn the idea into book. Picture your first grader telling you that she wants to write a book about horses. There is certainly enough information that people want to know about horses to fill several books, but the vague idea is not enough for an adult writer to create publishable work. To write a book, you will need to start with a topic. You may or may not be an expert on the subject. After you have the first vague ideas, you will need to start asking yourself questions. Answering those questions will hopefully lead you to more questions, and so on. Even if your original idea is completely unique and will lead you to write new information that the world does not yet have access to, you will need to add to that original idea for an intriguing finished product. If you are not an expert, or if you do not already know any new information, it will take even more time and effort in order to produce a unique piece of writing. Fiction is the same as non-fiction. Many stories have been told before. If you want to publish, you will need to come up with an engaging and new journey for your readers to take. Using Previously Published Work Now that we have covered the requirement for intricate and new ideas, there is also room in a book for old ideas. Your readers will need a starting place within your writing that is familiar and known. As you are putting together your ideas for a complete book, you will probably publish smaller pieces of work in magazines and newspapers. It is ok, as long as you cite yourself, to reuse some of that work. In that way, you can be publishing as you go along while still making progress towards your end goal in book publishing. After several months or even years, you will have poured out your effort and knowledge into a finally completed and whole book.