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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
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    Question Need advice on what Database program to use

    What I'm looking to do is create a database that can be put on the web and viewed and edited by 3-4 people online. We're all in different states and not networked. I have limited skills (I set up a database program in Paradox before the web) and no programming skills (except a lilttle HTML). I do learn software pretty fast, but need something that will do the job and isn't too complicated. Can you all give me some suggestions? Thank you very much in advance for your help!
    Judio

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
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    HI

    Depending on your project, goals, amount of usage, growth potential and the TYPE of web hosting account you get is what will determine the database you want to use.

    here are your basic options.
    1) MS-SQL
    2) MS-Access
    3) MySQL

    These are the 3 most common databases. There are others, but of course the resources (people) you can rely on for assistance will greatly be reduced.

    Now… my company only offers windows hosting, not Linux, so my knowledge of Linux and MySQL are rather limited. But…..

    All 3 databases, MS-SQL, MS-Access and MySQL will work with most windows hosting companies. To my knowledge, if you are using a Linux only based hosting company, your choice is simply MySQL.


    1) MS-SQL
    MS-SQL for a small business or individual is the big brother of databases. The only databases more advanced are big bucks to use. With many web hosting accounts now, the use of an advanced level database like MS-SQL is fairly cheap. MS-SQL also has some pretty neat things it can do that the others cant. For instance one of them is "stored procedures."

    Stored Procedures allow you to create a code module (procedure) and store it in the database. then when you want to use it, just call to it and send it the parameters of data that you want it to manipulate. it makes creating modular websites and interactive websites much easier to deal with. if you have a task that you need to do in several different web pages/screens... you only need 1 stored procedure instead of coding that task into each page separately. plus... stored procedures are considerably faster to run than a regular SQL statement executed on a database.

    Many web hosting companies provide an interface (web based) to manage an MS-SQL database. Personally, we use and offer MyLittleAdmin from www.MyLittleTools.net to manage MS-SQL databases.

    2) MS-Access.
    Yes, the same MS-Access that comes with MS-Office. You can create a database on your home computer and upload it to a website and then use it on the website. Almost any windows web hosting service can let you use an access database. An advantage… you can have the entire thing designed on your computer and then upload it. You can start out with this and then easily migrate over to MS-SQL.

    Disadvantages… way slower than MS-SQL, corrupts more easily, has "issues" when it gets to big. If people figure out the full path to your database, they can download the entire thing. (BIG disadvantage)

    MS access is a decent database, but be prepared to deal with its issues… one website I was running for a residential school used an access database for 4 years. All of the student records, housing, meals, medical and financials were stored in the database. we also ran student mail and chat rooms through the database. On numerous occasions I had over 130 people connected to the database at the same time using chat rooms.

    About once every few weeks I would have to download it, compact it, repair it, etc…

    Code designed to interface with MS-Access can easily be converted to interface with MS-SQL. There are a few little differences though in some of the commands, but not a significant amount.

    3) MySQL.
    Well.. my limited use of it will not do it justice, so I am hoping someone else will add info about it. I do know it is a robust database as well and is capable of handling just about anything that MS-SQL can… but that is the extent of my knowledge about it.


    Ultimately… for several reasons (including bias), I would recommend MS-SQL. Speed, security, stored procedures and a few other reasons.

    Let me know if I can answer anything else..
    Last edited by kropes2001; 02-11-06 at 02:57.
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    http://www.HawaiianHope.org
    Providing Technology services to non profit orgs, Homeless Shelters, Food Pantries, Clean And Sober Houses and more.
    To date we have given away over 900 free computers !
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  3. #3
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    Your choice probably comes down to one of 3 (MS-SQL Server, MS-JET OR MySQL server). Kropes is making the sadly all to frequent mistake in thinking MS_Access is a databse product - it isn't. The database mechanism is JET, Access is in fact a RAD to create the user interface between the data and the user.

    With the new version of MySQL (V5) there is very little that MS_SQL can do that MySQL can't do. M-SQL server does stored procedures, so does MySQL - and so on. So much so that Microsoft, and IBM with DB2 are starting to offer free versions of their database products, in the hope that you will start with them and if the project grows you will buy the full product, at the high prices they demand.

    I think your key issue is not actually the database but the user interface to access your data. You say you are not a programmer this will tend to rerstrict the options. It also depends on your budget, time and requirements. Also it depends on hardware availability - do you expect your remote sites to connect through a VPN, an intrannet or Internet connection. Some connection requirements dictate what type of application ca be put together.

    For your user interface there are several choices a RAD such as Access / Delphi / Visual Basic / C#, or a scripting language such as ASp or PHP.

    Access has a sort of remote / web method through Data Access Pages - never used 'em myself, as the licenscing requirements were inappropriate for the task in hand. But if its just your compnay using it then it may work (each user has to have either a copy of MS Access or Access Runtime or a specific MS Office library).

    Intrinsically there is not a great deal of difference in scripting languages in terms of what they can do. ASP is a good choice if you are within the Microsoft stable of products, PHP is fine to. If you are familiar with Visual Basic then ASP probably preferable to PHP.

    If you go down an Access route it needs to be very carefully designed in order to avoid the bottlenecks that can easily occur in an Access application. Fundamentally you need to avoid bound forms. Using remotely, over a slow or busy connection, I would tend avoid using Access if there are going tobe many users or high network traffic, and definately avoid using JET as the datastore within Access. I would try to use a server database such as MS-SQL Server or MySQL. The choice is upto you and your company. Some companies are very sniffy about using open source, career wise choose the microsoft product - its more likely to be better received on your CV.

    If you use a scripting route, the web paradigm can be a little odd at first. users may boit lkike the idea of having to press a button, reload a page, and then do soemthing - it can be frustrating trying to create a slick applicaiton. You can get round some of thise problems using Javascript within the page, but thats yet another <adjective deleted> langugae you have to learn.

    In the absence of further information I'd probably try to go down the MS Access (possibly as an Access Data Project) route talking to a server based data store. However if you go down that route do some very carefull reading before hand on what your need to do design wise to make sure the you don't throw away the advantages of the server. I wouldn't rule out other RAD's such as Delphi or a native VB/VB.NET application. I would steer clear of scripting langguaes unless your requirments are fairly simple (for no other reason than the learning curve may take to long and the finished applciaiton may be too clunky for users used to "normal" computer programs.

    just my 2.5d
    I'd rather be riding on the Tiger 800 or the Norton

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
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    3

    Thank you - what do you think of...

    Thank you for your replies. What do you think of Filemaker Pro or Corel Paradox? I'm looking for something that's pretty easy to use without having to learn programming.

  5. #5
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    Filemaker in many ways similiar to Access, Paradox I have never used.

    Filemaker seems more aimed at the absoluter beginner, I'm sure all 3 packagaes are quite capable - however it depends entirely on what you want to do.

    Given my experience and my inbuilt prejudices its a no brainer - MS Access with a server db backend is the way to go. But that reflects my experience and prejudice, not yours.

    Ypou mention you want to deploy the application vis a internet connection. if thats the case then I think you need to consider other alternatives usch as the scripting languages lke vbscrirpt (ASP) and PHP. it depends entirely on what you want to do in what time frame.
    I'd rather be riding on the Tiger 800 or the Norton

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by healdem
    Kropes is making the sadly all to frequent mistake in thinking MS_Access is a databse product - it isn't.
    Thanks for the slight put down...
    But i AM aware that the database mechanism is JET. If i told our new friend here to use JET and didnt mention Access.. he would be contacting all of these hosting companies asking about JET and their non tech sales teams would likely be responding back saying no, they dont offer jet.


    Judio,
    he is right about the interface to your database. do you want to be editing data right through a web page, or are you considering giving these people teh ability to jsut download teh database and then reload it when they have made changes ? those are completely different uses. you can do that if you use access, filemaker and Paradox, but not MS-SQL.

    the others you mention... filemaker and Paradox. i agree with him that filemaker seemes aimed to a beginner.. but for both databases, i have never seen anyone interface them to a website or make them part of a web application. although i am sure it can be done.
    i have extensive knowledge of paradox. i used it for 4 years writing VB programs that interfaced to it. and since we use VBScript (scripting) in ASP pages, i am sure there is a way to interface with Paradox... but... again, the amount of others doing it may limit the resources to you if you are trying to get problems resolved.
    .
    .
    http://www.HawaiianHope.org
    Providing Technology services to non profit orgs, Homeless Shelters, Food Pantries, Clean And Sober Houses and more.
    To date we have given away over 900 free computers !
    __________________________
    caeli enarrant gloriam Dei !

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Posts
    3
    Thank you both for your replies. I am hoping to have something that others can add to right on the web, so that they don't have to download and upload it again. I appreciate your comments about the different programs.

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