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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.
Do and Don?ts of the Interview Process No one likes job interviews. From the moment you schedule the interview you are under a microscope. Your potential employers waiting for you to make the move that make you stand out or eliminates you from being a candidate for the job. This necessary dance that just about everyone, has to go through can be mastered. Learn the key things to do to become a high-ranking candidate for a job. First of all, before you go to the interview be prepared. Having copies of your resume and pens are only half the battle. Where exactly is the office located? Do not leave the location or the interview site up to chance. The only way to know exactly where your interview is and how much travel time you should allow is to go there. Even if you are interviewing out of town, find out how long the drive is to the interview. Nothing disqualifies you, in most cases, faster than being late for your interview. Before you are sitting across from the interviewer, accumulate some knowledge about the company. Knowing about the position is not enough. Everyone that interviews will have read the advertisement for the position. You need to be armed with information about the company. Have they won any service awards? Are they ranked as one of the best companies in America to work for? Find out and impress the interviewer. Another way to impress the interviewer is to have intelligent, thoughtful questions to ask. Ask about productivity, benefits or training procedures. Show that you have done your homework and are truly extend about the position. Be attentive and bring the interviewer as much information as possible about yourself. If you have a portfolio or reference letters, be sure you take them to the interview. Also be prepared with complete work history and information as well as past residency information. Be ready to answer a few probing questions. Why do you want the job you have applied for? What makes this a good time for a job or career change? Have some intelligent answers for these questions. Interviews will know if you are nervous. No matter how badly you need the job, do not appear desperate. Show that you believe in yourself and are confident about your ability to do the job. Speak in terms of when you get the job opposed to it. While this is a bold move it is a way to reinforce the idea of you being chosen for the job. This is a trick for both you and the interviewer. No matter how true this may be, never tell the interviewer that you ?really need a job?. If this is what you tell the interviewer they will think that you are willing to take any job. Also, never talk negatively about your current boss or co-workers. Give as objective view as possible if you are asked about your current job relationship. Inquire about the next interviewing steps. This will not only show the interviewer that you are interested in the position it will also give you some time to prepare if you are called for the next interviewing step. Be sure to keep a notebook in your car so you can jot down notes immediately after you leave the interview. This is the best way to keep track of important facts about the position. In a day or so, mail a thank you card to your interviewer. This could be the added interest they are waiting to see from you in order to eliminate the other candidates.
The Road to Riches ? Or at Least Success - In writing (how to become a published author) Getting published is the first step on the road to becoming a writer. It?s an exciting day when you receive your first paycheck for something you wrote. It?s a stamp of approval on your ability to write the meaning of the everyday for the general public. If you want to know how to become a published author, read on. It can be a difficult and frustrating road, but the destination is well worth the journey. Starting Small The first thing to remember when wondering how to become a published author is that beginning should look like a beginning. Don?t expect instant recognition or huge payment for your first efforts in the writing world. You will learn as you continue to write and get feedback. Don?t always expect feedback either. You will have to become your own critic to some extent. The following list includes great opportunities for publication as you improve your writing skills. Newsletters As you learn how to become a published author, your first lesson may be that you won?t always get paid. When you are first starting out, your best opportunities may be with free publications that only accept donated work. Many newsletters are created by non-profit organizations. They need donated time from several sources in order to keep the public informed about their work. You could start your practice there. You can also start the process towards name recognition. Newspapers Newspapers are also a good place to begin your publications. Reporting jobs are difficult to land and may not be worth the time and effort that they require, but you can start with letters to the editor for great practice. You?ll see your name in print if you can write a clear letter addressing relevant topics. That could lead you to a relationship with the editor so that you can move into a few freelance jobs. Magazines As you query magazines for possible publication opportunities, you will do well to include some of your already published work. Whether you?ve been compensated or not, your name in print along with some representative writing will help you get an interview with a magazine editor. Now we can talk about how to become a published author for money. Magazines start writers at low wages with the opportunity to increase. Online Publications Online publications work in much the same way. You will probably find job postings on job boards. If you can demonstrate that you have been published somewhere before your chances of landing a paid job will increase. Anthologies As your skills improve, you will be able to step into jobs with books. Anthologies are filled with skillfully written pieces along some subject line. You will need to use all of your capabilities you have learned so far as in writing for an audience and creating a tone acceptable to the publication. If you can do that, you will start to enter into the world of books. You may want to stop there, or you may want to take your work further. Books Writing your own book will take time and work. As you think about how to become a published author, remember that you do not necessarily have to become a book author. Writers work in all fields, and some are limited to one or two. If you have enough motivation and capability, book writing can be a lucrative field to enter into. If you?d rather stick to short term projects though, stick with the magazines and other similar publications. If you need more information about how to become a published author, check out specific information about any of the above genres. The internet is a great source, but you can also support other writers monetarily by visiting your local book store.
Understand Group Publishing (group publishing) When you want to have one your books published, you will work hard to get your book finished and then you will seek out a publisher. Sometimes it is very hard to find the right publisher, but the good news is that there are several different types of publishers that you can use to get your works on the market. Large companies are not your only option. The world of publishing difficult to break into and if you get an acceptance letter--that is only the start. There are many types of publishing companies out there and they all have a different way of publishing their products. Here is a look at some of the more common types of publishing including group publishing. Group Publishing: Group publishing is the process in which a large company publishes your work in the name of a larger company. For example, there are big name publishing companies out there. They operate smaller group publishing companies. The larger publishing company serves as a kind of umbrella over the smaller group publishing companies. Sometimes these companies operate several smaller companies that produce different genres of writing and books. This is also sometimes called trade publishing. For example, a large publishing group may produce best selling adult novels, but may also operate under a smaller name to produce certain non-fiction books, cookbooks or children?s books. Group publishing is a popular way to publish a book. Educational Publishing: Besides trade publishing, there is also educational publishing. These are companies that deal specifically with educational material. They may deal with only college textbooks, or they might deal with textbooks and materials for grades K-12. Besides textbooks, these companies might also produce other forms of educational material, which include posters, workbooks, CD-ROMS, software, testing material and maps. There are several big name educational publishing companies. University publishing?University Press: This type of publishing is not like group publishing and it is not the same as scholarly publishing. These types of companies are usually non-profit and are run by universities, colleges and even sometimes museums or other organization. These usually publish books by scholars and other specialists and they usually are used within the university system. Sometimes these books do get published by a larger trade publish; however, they do not market these types of books. Independent publisher: Independent publishers are often the best way to get your book published if you cannot find a publisher to produce your book. These are generally smaller companies that are privately owned. Many times, these companies only publish a handful of books each year and they usually are about certain subjects. They have the freedom to publish just about anything they wish. Software and other Media: You might not consider software and other types of media as being a publisher, but they are. Think of all the e-books, CD-ROMs and even books on tape that are on the market. These have to be published, too. These types of companies are often associated with larger trade publishers. In fact, many large publishing companies have their very own media publisher in house to take care of this type of publishing. It is a very large business and these types of publishers are just as important and lucrative as the large trade publishers. As you can see, there is a whole world of publishers out there waiting to get your book or other media published. If you do not have luck with a large trade publisher or group publisher, then don?t give up. Keep looking and the different types of companies out there until you find one that wants to work with you and your book.