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Thread: Analyzing Data

  1. #1
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    Mar 2004
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    Unanswered: Analyzing Data

    I'm inquiring about what program would be best for my needs. MySQL was refered to me but even at the website mysql.com the language used is often confusing.

    Here is what I would like to use a database for, I'm a news junky who would like to start compiling a database of articles pictures maps etc.. of the news events I read about daily. I would like to later search the data I've collected and have it refrence all items pertaining to the criteria I've entered, exaple: "(enter world leaders name)" I would like the output to display (gui if possible) all articles and pictures that refrence the said leaders name.

    At this point I don't have another computer so I'm not sure about using 'server software' but I would eventually like to have this accessible on my home network once it's up.

    Questions I have:
    1) Is MySQL the software that will best suit my needs? (if not please don't hesitate to set me on the correct path)

    If #1 is yes:

    2) Can MySQL search inside text or html documents or would I have to 'give' the article keywords for search inquiries?

    3) Eventually I would like to enter (by hand if nesessary) a profile for each country and person I am researching. Then when I enter a persons name I would like to have the country profile, biography of person and related articles pictures and maps to be displayed.

    I understand I may be way out of line asking these questions here (I've read some of the others first!) but if anyone could please even point me to a website, program name or any information that would be more suitible for my problem I would probably fall to my knees in joy and cry. I've been to bookstores, library and websites but everything, I'm sure because I'm new to this area, is foreign to me.

    I'm not looking for people to give me answers other than pointing me in the correct direction. I would be more than happy to invest in books once I know I'm on the correct path. I just need a little guidance at this point.

    I thank you all in advance.

    Stan

  2. #2
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    Mar 2004
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    21

    Re: Analyzing Data

    A few questions that miight help to point you in the right direction
    What kind of programming languages are you best at.
    To use a database like MySQL or any other, you need to use something like Visual Studio .Net, to mention 1.
    I presume your using a PC. Setting up MySQL is easy and you wont need another computer, you can run it on your machine, so it acts like server machine.
    Give more on your programming backround and you can go from there

  3. #3
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    Mar 2004
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    Re: Analyzing Data

    Thanks for your quick response.

    I have no programing expirience beyond HTML. I have created small Perl scripts under Red Hat Linux but I wouldn't say I 'know' Perl. I hope this doesn't frighten anyone enough not respond because I am fully aware that programing is going to be part of the package.

    Here is some other information that might be helpful.

    * I currently use XP Pro. but will be putting up a home network server using linux.

    * I would like the database software to be cheap or free if possible.

    * Although I am going to develope this personal project I'm not looking to become a database expert. I am aware that I will have an extreme learning curve to over come while starting and may become one in the process because I am curious about software that can find 'relationships' between individual piece's of information or 'raw data'.

    * I've used FileMaker in the past.

    I hope this can help more in understanding what I'm looking for. Please feel free to give me a list of questions about the project that can help you in answering my questions better. This will ultimately help me in defining exactly what I want also.

    Again, thank you all for your help.

    Stan

  4. #4
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    Mar 2004
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    Re: Analyzing Data

    I was just emailed by a friend who asked me to clarify "find relationships". Here's what I have in mind:

    - I enter a name (which has already been added to the database). I would like the software to 'scan' the persons profile (which was also entered previously to search). The 'scan' would recognize from the profile that the name entered is the leader of, say, Iraq. The software will then orginize and display all data in the system that has something to do with the name I entered. Including display bio/profile information, map of country person is from, a picture of the person, then all related articles and information on him. Plus, cross refrence other information that was included in the profile in addition to country.

    -What format does data have to be in to search "inside" text documents?

    In my minds eye I would like to be able to search my computer similar to a Google search. I type in a term and it displays all information about it. But I want to set it up so it's more specific to my criteria. Like the example above, if i specified the search term was a persons name it would automatically bring up the persons profile, country profile, and other specifics then include articles pictures or what ever other data is 'related' to this person.

    I will see if I can scan in the drawings I've made. It may make more sense.

    Here's what I have planned. I would like to take the freely availible country information provided by the CIA's World Factbook and enter it in the database. Take the leader(s) of each country and create profiles of each and include it in the database. Then "dump" articles, whitepapers, text, website articles etc... in to the system.

    Although I've never used Lexus/Nexus from what I've read/heard about the system this is what I want but on an obviously much smaller scall and more specific to the area I keep track of.

    Again, if I'm in the wrong place please don't hesitate to let me know. I take helpful critisism very well and along with wasting your time I would be wasting my time if this capability isn't offered in MySQL and I continued to post on this forum.

    Thank you all again.

    Stan

  5. #5
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    Mar 2004
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    No problem. Sometimes all i'm looking for an this forum is for someone to send simple answers.
    Not tryin to put you off. It sounds like a good project, but tO say you've a steep learning curve is saying it mildly, depneding on what way you do it of couse.
    One possible way to do is to set it up as a web site which you could run lcoall, and later put on the web, which i think you would if it works out well for you.
    To design it I would use Visual Studio .Net, which costs a fortune but if you have access to it, it works brilliantly. I would stay away from Linux. If windows is your system stick with it. I've used linux before but use windows if at all possible. For this level of use, you have all you need in windows.
    MySQL is free and works for any size database so will be more than enough for what you want. As regards the google search. If you use sql (this is the language used to perform actions on any sql based database, inlcuding MySQL, SQL Server - the microsoft DB server that comes with .NET, Access), this kind of search and lots of other, like date search and lots of other things are possible. SQL is a language in itself just to avoid confusion.
    With .NET, you'd prob use c# or VisualBasic. I use c# all the time, dont really use vb so i'm not gonna say which is better.
    Adding articles would be part and parcel of using a DB like SQL.
    The thing to understand that the DB is made up of tables. THese tables can hold TEXT, or intergers or images.
    An good example to show what i mean is for the articles
    - say you want the content, an image, the date for the article, this could be your DB
    int articleId - this uniquely defines this db entry
    varchar articleContent - varchar is just a lot of text
    image articleIMage - the field to store the image
    datetime articleDate - the date - very good for searching for articles later

    OK, thats getting into a bit, but it might give you an idea of how the data would be stored. Its important to realise the data is seperate from the html, and the language you'd use like c#.
    God I've typed an awful lot of crap.
    Hope this helps

  6. #6
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    Mar 2004
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    So maybe this undertaking is like building the Titanic just to go boating for the day? Is there any pre-packaged software that anyone knows of that could be useful to me?

    I'm going to investigate other software for a while but I will be checking this and the other forums on dBforums until I can find what I am looking for.

    Thank you for all your help. If anyone has suggestions or have noticed I haven't been on the forum lately and something has come up that you think would intrest me on this subject please email me at:
    stanunderhill(at)earthlink.net

  7. #7
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    Originally posted by stan underhill
    So maybe this undertaking is like building the Titanic just to go boating for the day? Is there any pre-packaged software that anyone knows of that could be useful to me?
    There is an open source package called "Lucid Fried Eggs" that might satisfy you, Stan. I've been using version 0.096 as a personal knowledge base for several years now, much in the way you describe. It uses PHP for the web interface, siting atop a MySQL backend. If you're using Red Had Linux, install the httpd (Apache), mysql, mysql-server, php, and php-mysql packages during your OS install and you should have everything you need to run Lucid, which is also easy to install from source and configure.

    You'll be able to enter, search, and browse notes (Nodes), and attach file uploads to any Node and retrieve them. It may not be spot-on perfect, but its reliable and attractive, and you'd be hard pressed for something better thats not a full blown Wiki.

    https://sourceforge.net/projects/lucid/

    The code is clearly written and easy to hack in case you want to change something. For instance the standard styles are nice, but I had no trouble hacking them to make 'em better with no prior PHP experience.

    One tip about upload file types, since the standard list is rather limited: if you want to add more permitted types, edit the list in the function called "uploadBinaryFile()" in the file "binaryData.inc.php". It seems to be intended mainly for image and video uploads, but its easy to add more types, as for instance MS Office applications, pdf files, and others.

    The one complaint I have about it is that, while you can delete a Node, to change a Node Title you have to go directly into the MySQL database and do a manual update.

    Hope this helps.

    Steve
    Last edited by sstodvictory; 03-26-04 at 20:05.

  8. #8
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    If you are looking for something easy to use, for purely personal usage, you might want to consider Microsoft Access. It isn't a "heavy lifting" type of database, particularly if you rely on the default Jet database engine, but it is easy and reasonably effective.

    Assuming that you get Access as part of MS-Office Professional, Access doesn't add much to the cost of Office. You also then get the MSDE database engine, which brings lots of query tools that make life much easier for developing the kind of tools you want to create.

    There are a number of other database building tools that are open source, but they require more work to get things rolling than Access does. It ends up being a trade off of ease of startup versus low cost/practially unlimited power.

    If your time is limited to the extent that you can afford $200 better than 200 hours, then I'd recommend investigating the Office Professional solution.

    -PatP

  9. #9
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    Mar 2004
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    Thank you all for your input. I've been to sourceforge.net and have found a few projects that have peeked my intrest. I will be testing some of these this weekend and will write back with the results. Although none of the projects were exactly what I was looking for there were a couple that really intrested me:

    Freemind (Mind mapping software)
    http://freemind.sourceforge.net/

    Suprisingly a CIA World Factbook database!
    http://wfb2sql.sourceforge.net/

    MAK
    http://mak.sourceforge.net/?pid=tutorial

    There were about a dozen more that I will be investigating. Please write comments or suggestions. MySQL was used by a lot of the programs that I will be looking at. The problem still comes back to me not knowing anything about it. I will be purchasing a MySQL book (suggestions are welcome for an introductory book) because I think this is a program that will be of intrest in the future if not for this project.

    I do have Access but I wanted to stay away from software that can't run on multipule operating systems. Linux will slowly be taking over my home network over the next few years.

    Thank you and I look forward to more suggestions for this project.

    P.S. Is there a forum that this topic, which is now moving away from MySQL, would be more appropriate? I would like to continue discussions about database projects in general. Thanks.

  10. #10
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    I would suggest Database concepts and design as a place to start.

    -PatP

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