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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.
The Business of Self-Publishing (self publishing) Self-publishing has become a common practice for many writers. Writers? reasons for self-publishing are varied, but it is commonly known that many writers want the accolades of having published work, no matter who publishes it. The freedom and business aspects of publishing work independently are desirable to many writers. A self-published writer is one who is in control of every aspect of their published work. The term self-publishing is defined as the publishing of books and other media by the authors of those works, instead of being established by third-party publishers. The advancement of technology has caused an increase in the self-publishers world, but it still only represents a small percentage of the publishing industry in terms of sales. The proliferation of media channels and web logging has contributed to the increase in self-publishers. The business of publishing books and other media independently is one that is unique and different from any other business. The most distinguishing characteristic of self-publishing is the absence of a traditional publisher. The author of the content takes on the role of the traditional publisher. The author is given editorial control of the content, arranging for printing, marketing the material, and distributing the material to consumers and retailers. The published books may be printed on demand with no inventory, which places a large amount of financial risk for the venue on the author?s shoulders. Many self-published authors end up subsidizing their work rather than making money from it. Digital printing technology has made it possible for the self-publishing concept to become mainstream in digital photo book printing. Self-publishers are able to get individually printed photo books from firms like Apple?s iPhoto, FotoInsight, Snapfish, and Printing-1. The motives for publishing work independently are varied, and there are numerous reasons for choosing to self-publish. One common reason is that the work of the author is not of interest to the commercial publisher, and otherwise not marketable. Some other common reasons for self publishing include an author?s preference to retain complete editorial control over content. Many writers are unwilling to compromise when it comes to the editing of their work, and some prefer to have their work presented ?as is.? Writers may also be denied publication because they are unknown and don?t have a substantial resume. Self-publishing may also be an alternative for writers who have written material on a popular topic but that is only of interest in a small geographic area. Topics that address an obscure topic in which few people are interested may also be denied publication by commercial publishers. Writers of controversial works may also choose to self-publish, as many traditional publishers refuse to work with controversial writings. There are also some authors choose self-publishing because they want a larger percentage return from retail sales. Whatever the reason for self-publishing, authors should know that there is extensive work required in publishing a book alone. Publishing alone involves a long list of tasks, which include prepublication and publication. Prepublication includes editing or obtaining editing for the manuscript, proofreading, establishing yourself as a legal retail business, and obtaining an ISBN ?Cataloging in Publication? number. The publication process involves formatting the manuscript, providing front matter and back matter, and providing cover art for the front and back covers and the spine of the book. Self-publishers must also obtain printing quotes, determine how the manuscript will be delivered to the printer, and pay for printing and delivery of finished books. Self-publishing is a business that many writers prefer to avoid, but for others it may be the only way to have the work printed and available to the public.
Find Free Stuff Online by Visiting the FreeStuffOnline Website Whatever it is somebody is searching for, he might be able to find it on the FreeStuffOnline website. The FreeStuffOnline website is a page that offers links to other pages that have products that are free off charge available to anybody. Pages like this one collect links and web addresses that offer free products and then publish it as a great resource to the broader public. The links offered by FreeStuffOnline leads to a variety of different topics and offers and there might be just what someone one is looking for. The web page offers categories such as educational freebies, which includes Study notes, Encyclopedias, books and more. Family freebies have categories for babies, children and parents. For the computer world there are free products such as free antivirus software, freeware programs, games and graphics, shareware, music and screensavers. For the cell phone fanatic, there are links to free cell phone ring tones and short message programs. A seasonal freebie category holds anything that relates to the major holidays in the United States, such as Christmas, Halloween, Easter and more. The category ?internet? offers links to free web hosting pages, e-mail providers and much more. The way such pages work is by the various masters that take care of adding and removing links. As a matter of fact, anyone can add freebie links to the page. This is one of their most important tools to keep such a freebie page working. Anyone who finds a good freebie that is not a fraudulent page should go to the FreeStuffOnline web page and add the link. Other people will benefit from the link just as much as the person that added it. To keep such sites possible the effort of anyone that is looking for freebies is necessary. There are many organizations out there that specialize in providing help for the ones that do not have a wealthy family to pay for all of it. Organizations that specialize in literature offer PDF files of books of world famous authors such as Shakespeare, books that anybody should have the chance to read. Other pages specialize in children?s songs. Downloadable MP3s, legal downloads of these songs are available to make music an integral part of young children?s lives. Even for the new craze of sharing pictures, files and other important date there are links that guide the user to pages that will offer such services for free. Sharing pictures with loved ones should be easy and free and available to anybody. Whether it is the grandparent that lives hundred of miles away or a father that serves in the army, these pages offer the opportunity to anyone to share important data such as pictures over the distance. Using an online file sharing web page also has the advantage of speed over regular mail. Until the pictures are sent to their destination by mail, it can take days, but on the Internet the process takes a few seconds and the person at the other PC can see the data almost instantly. When these files are shared there is always the possibility to have the pictures printed at one of the photo stores and the person will still be able to hold printed pictures in their hands. One other important fact to know about these free online pages like FreeStuffOnline is that whenever you come onto a link that is not working, let them know, only by people telling the web master that the link is not working it can be removed. Helping to maintain the page by alarming for broken links can reduce the frustration to other that was trying to check out the link.