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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 Many Faces of The Ghostwriting Professional (ghostwriting) Ghostwriting may seem distasteful to some writers, but it is the preferred profession for many writers. Some writers are more satisfied with the act of writing than have their name known by consumers. A ghostwriter is a writer who is paid to write books, articles, stories, and reports that are credited to another person. Ghostwriters have been used by many professionals, including celebrities, executives, and political leader. The writers are usually hired to draft or edit autobiographies, magazine articles, speeches, and other material. The ghostwriter is not always left out; they may sometimes be acknowledged by the author or publisher for assisting in creating the finished product. Ghostwriters have a very important role in the world, and there are many different types of ghostwriters, including nonfiction, fiction, political, medical, blog, and academic writers. Ghostwriters provide an important service to many of their clients. Some people hire ghostwriters to polish and edit a rough draft of their articles and books. If a ghostwriter is used to edit a book or article, most of the language in the finished product will be that of the credited author. Although, some books and articles could not be finished with the help provided by ghostwriting. Typically, ghostwriters are hired to write most of the work, using concepts and stories provided by the author who receives credit. A writer, who writes most or all of the work, will do extensive research on the client or their area of expertise. Ghostwriters always prepare a book or article with input from their client, and the credited authors may provide a basic framework of ideas at the outset, or may provide comments on the final draft of a project. Autobiographies are a common project offered to writers in the field of ghostwriting. When writing an autobiography, ghostwriters typically interview the client, their colleagues, their friends and family, and may also find interviews, articles and video footage relating to the client they are writing for. Ghostwriting may be needed for several reasons and may be needed by many types of people. In most cases, a ghostwriter is needed for a celebrity or public figure who does not have the time, discipline, or writing skills required to write and research an autobiography or other types of books. Publishers to increase the number of books that can be published each year by a well-known author may also recruit the writers. There are many types of ghostwriters, including the nonfiction ghostwriter. In ghostwriting, the nonfiction writer is used by celebrities and public figures that want autobiographies or memoirs published. Nonfiction ghostwriters may also be used to write ?how-to? books, or used to write books for professionals in a certain field. Fiction ghostwriters are another type of ghostwriter, which are usually employed by fiction publishers. Political ghostwriters provide their ghostwriting services to public officials and politicians. These political figures employ ghostwriters to respond to the large volume of correspondence they receive. The writers typically draft response letters for the correspondence that is received. Medical ghostwriters are often hired by pharmaceutical companies to produce papers in medical and scientific journals on the outcomes of medications. Some physicians and scientists from academia may also be paid for the use of their name, which enhances credibility of the study. Many professionals have criticized the use of medical ghostwriting, but it is a common practice that seems to have no decrease in action. A web log or blog ghostwriter is one of the newest types of ghostwriters. Many blog operators use ghostwriters to help generate interest in their blog site. These ghostwriters are hired to post comments to their blog, while posing as others by using pseudonyms. This practice is used to generate more traffic and encourage more real posts. Academic ghostwriters are often used by university and college students, and are hired through essay mills to write entrance essays, term paper, and theses and dissertations. Ghostwriting is not desirable for many writers, but ghostwriters seem to provide a much needed service to the writing community.
Extra! Extra! Getting into the Newspaper Business (writing news articles) The news is now and those who write it know the stories first. Getting into the newspaper business can be difficult because of the competitive nature of the news. The successful reporter needs to be organized, efficient and able to work under extreme pressure. The flip side is that a newspaper writer is almost always a celebrity. If he or she works for a large newspaper, his name may be known all over the country. If he only works for a small town paper, that town will recognize his name. Writing news articles involves ups and downs, so read on to learn more about it. Newspaper Overview A newspaper office is an interesting place to be. Bright and early at eight o?clock in the morning, the office is quiet and dark. As the rest of the world is counting down the minutes to quitting time, the reporters? desks start to fill up with hurried typing and flipping through notes. Well after dark, the last stories get wrapped up and put to bed. They may have been changed a couple of time as new developments occurred. Some stories written will make it to the front page. Some stories though will get significantly cut or cut from the paper all together. Writing news articles may be very rewarding, but it also requires a different kind of lifestyle than most careers. Becoming a Reporter If you are interested in writing news articles, you may also be interested in learning a little bit more about what is involved in becoming a reporter. Writing is a very important piece of being a successful reporter. Writing news articles involves close attention to journalistic style. Most full time reporters have journalism degrees. Those that don?t have learned to imitate the style with precision. A good journalist must learn the art of interviewing a subject. Freelancing If the full time reporting job is not for you, look into writing news articles on a freelance basis. It will help if you develop a relationship with the editor of the newspaper you intend to write for. Since so many people want to see their names in print, it can be hard to break into the freelance newspaper business. Writing news articles on a freelance basis requires a good eye for newsworthy topics as well as a thorough and fair representation of the facts. Freelancing takes practice. Don?t be discouraged if the editor doesn?t like your work initially. If you keep trying, you?re bound to stumble onto something great. Once you are in and an editor likes you, you?ll be able to work more freely. What?s News? Before you are ready for writing news articles, you should be ready to judge for yourself what news is and what it is not. Regular reporters are assigned stories to write, so they rarely have to come up with topics on their own. Freelancers write their stories and then try to sell them. The first rule about deciding what is news is that if someone asks you to write about it, it?s not news. You should have to dig up the good stories. If you need inspiration, just start talking to people. Get to know a few of the prominent people in your community. Build relationships and keep asking questions. The stories will come out eventually. You can also take a tour of your community with your eyes wide open. Look for anything suspicious, dangerous or exceedingly beautiful. Take your camera wherever you go just in case you happen to be an eyewitness to something newsworthy. Writing news articles can be done as a career or as a freelance pursuit. Whichever you choose, you?re sure to lead a life with some adventure. The news is always happening and it?s always something new.