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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 Slam and Other Outlets for your Poetry Needs (poetry reading) Poetry is an effective display of human life and emotion. Not only are the writer?s feelings about life revealed, the reader is also taken on a journey of meaning and feeling. Poetry is an outlet for writers and readers alike. Each new poem that is written is another chapter in the entire human experience. Since people are looking for meaning within their experiences, poetry draws fans by adding that meaning. Poetry reading can be educational and enjoyable. There are many places and forms that poetry reading can take, so if you are looking for an outlet or inlet of your own, you?ll be sure to find one that will fit your needs perfectly. A Poetry Slam A poetry slam is a gathering of poetry lovers. Each person that attends brings one or several pieces of poetry to read. The poems can be individual work or work that you have come across in your poetry reading. The point is to allow everyone to enjoy poetry that they may have never heard before. As each reader places his own interpretation within his reading, everyone can enjoy the variation in style and sound and meaning that comes out of the experience. There are probably a few poetry slams scheduled in your community already. Check the library or the local college campus for more information. If poetry slams are not already being scheduled, or if they are not frequent enough for your taste, you can start your own. All it takes is a meeting place and some flyers. You?ll probably meet all kinds of people that you enjoy being with at a poetry slam. Going to Class Another place to meet other poetry lovers is in class. If there is a college or university campus near you, join a class. Poetry classes are often scheduled in the evening because of their popularity with those who are not regular students. Poetry reading happens in a couple of different kinds of classes. You can take poetry classes that focus on poetry that has been written through history. Sometimes the classes will focus on a specific group of people or time in history. As the subjects change, you can continue to take the classes and continually come across new poetry that you have not read before. You can also take poetry classes that encourage you to write your own poetry. You will then be able to read your work as well as listen to others? work. The great thing about poetry classes is that they are set up for discussion. You can discover more meanings in other people?s writing and develop your own with the help of other qualified students as well as your professor. The Impromptu If you are involved in any other kind of poetry reading, you will probably be well immersed in the different forms of poetry. Understanding a few different writers? perspectives will allow you to involve poetry in your every day life. As you talk to friends and relatives about typical situations that arise, you will be able to bring meaning to many of your conversations through poetry reading. You will probably also develop your own skills of writing and so be able to express yourself effectively when it comes to all kinds of human experiences. Hopefully, at impromptu poetry readings, you?ll be able to inform your friends and relatives as well. Poetry reading opens doors to the heart and the mind. Poetry is a deep expression of emotion and the understanding of life as well as death. Don?t hesitate to broaden your own poetic horizons by experiencing your own poetry and that of others. Try some of the outlets and inlets listed above.
Software Copyright Laws Software Copyright Laws Fail to Provide Adequate Protection Software copyright laws are among the most difficult to enforce among the masses. Many companies and corporations are also well known for overlooking these laws, which were designed to protect the makes of software from not earning their worth. Perhaps one of the biggest hitches leading so many software businesses to go out of business is the fact that they have a great deal of difficulty actually enforcing the software copyright laws that are in place and getting the money that is owed them according to the agreements that have been made with those on the using end of the software. Software developers, particularly in the corporate world design software that makes other companies run more efficiently. The software allows these companies to save millions of dollars each year. Software copyright laws protect the interests of the software developers that create these massive programs. These programs are often designed specifically for that one company and are very expensive. The agreement often consists of a certain number of users with the company purchasing more licenses or copies of the software during expansions or paying some sort of royalties for the use of the software. The purchasing companies agree to this and then more often than not fail to honor that agreement. The agreement is what allows this company to use that software, this agreement is what allows that permission. When companies aren't living up to their end of this agreement they are not only guilty of breaching that agreement but also of breaking software copyright laws. The trouble always lies in proving that they are not honoring the contract and the extent and duration of the breach. Some of the ways that companies will argue in defense of them not paying the royalties, additional fees, purchasing additional software, etc. is that they upgraded computers and reused the old software (they did actually purchase the rights to use the original software and by doing so feel that they have broken no software copyright laws) the problem lies in the fact that adding ten new computers and placing the software on those should mean that you remove it from or get rid of 10 old computers. This is rarely how it works. So now they've basically stolen ten copies of software that can be well worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. Multiply this by 10, 20, or 100 companies trying this or worse each year and the offending companies are costing software developers millions of dollars in profits. This is when software copyright laws are not as far reaching in their scope as they really need to be. Software copyright laws exist to protect the software companies from this type of abuse and misuse, however, the hands of the companies are almost unilaterally tied when it comes to proving that software copyright laws have been broken in court. There are always exceptions to every rule. In this case big business software developers that abuse the software copyright laws to the point of breaking make the exceptions rather than miserly consumers that do not wish to pay for the products they are consuming. The big boys are able to do this by offering licenses for their software and claiming that these laws do not apply to their situation because they are not actually selling the software only 'renting' out permission for people or companies to 'use' that software. The true irony is that these practices began as a response to the corporate irresponsibility mentioned above. It's amazing that the very software copyright laws that were created to protect these companies can't protect their consumers from the greed of the developing companies.