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#1 06-06-2003 11:05:33

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Need Database Advice

I need some advice from some of you veteran web designers out there. I use Dreamweaver and Fireworks and CCP exclusively and have been able to build a nice little business for myself over the past 4 years. However I only use the absolute basics of Dreamweaver, ie create a gif or jpg graphic, draw cell insert graphic, create rollovers, etc. Pretty basic stuff. These skills combined with CCP have served me very well but I really want to beef up my web design skills over the next 12-18 months. I have a particular interest in learning how to incorporate a database into my web sites. Problem is I know very little about databases and have just started reading my first “databases for dummies” book.

Which database software would be the best for me to focus on as I would really like to start taking some database classes and what other areas besides learning the database software should I focus on? Seems like MS Access is the one but not really sure. Does anyone know of any good books or online tutorials that focus on incorporating databases into websites and is 12-18 months a realistic timeframe to be able to somewhat master these skills. The other issue I am having is where to go to take classes. I live just outside of Atlanta if anyone has any recommendations. The other kink it seems is that I do my design on a Powerbook and it appears that databases are the Achilles Heal of Apple Computers. I really like the Apple but it look s like I would need to get a PC to do the database work on????? Thanks in advance for any pointers.

Tom


 

#2 06-06-2003 11:16:15

BooBoo
Member
From: Anaheim, CA
Registered: 07-25-2003
Posts: 147
Website

Re: Need Database Advice

The infamous answer is, it depends.

What type of server is hosting your web?  W2K, *nix, or ???.  Also, access may be okay, but the speed is really not there.

CCP5 is setup nicely for MySQL, which can be run on either W2K or *nix.  I use *nix and MySQL and we have really great response times.

Since CCP5 integrates with MySQL so nicely and automatically, you really do not need to know SQL, unless you are going to download data, upload data, modify data outside of CCP5.

MySQL has an excellent application that can be run from WIndows that will allow you to create databases, tables, manipulate data, etc.

However, again, as CCP5 already does this for you, you really do not need to do this.

What is it exactly that you are trying to accomplish, as this may require mods to CCP5.


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#3 06-06-2003 11:34:53

Todd
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From: Kitty Hawk, NC
Registered: 04-01-2003
Posts: 553
Website

Re: Need Database Advice

Hello Tom,

I think you are on the right path if you want to 'beef up' your development skills.

I too use DW/FW extensively and like them very much.  As far as recommending a database, that is a tough one.  It really depends on the type of work you are doing and your own personal preferences.

One thing about databases, once you learn the basics of how they are structured, many of them function in the same way.  Obviously SQL is probably on your horizon and many databases use it. I personally do not use MS SQL but many do and seem to be happy with it.

One database that is huge in the opensource world is MySQL (which I'm sure you heard of already) and it is free to use for personal and commercial projects.  It can be a great database to learn on and there are quite a few free resources for learning it.

One book you may consider getting is not really about databases at all but rather Coldfusion.  The book is called 'Coldfusion MX Application Development' by Ben Forta.  Why this book?

Coldfusion is an application server which interfaces with a database for storage of information.  CF basically allows stuff to be done that normal html cannot do.

Ben goes heavily into databases and SQL for about the first 200 pages of the book.  He explains tables, keys, relational db's, fields, etc...  You can learn quite a bit about how db's work and on top of it, learn some CF stuff too.

Since you are already working with DW/FW, you will find learning CF a bit easier than most because DW is CF's recommended GUI(Graphical User Interface).

I recommend this approach too because I believe it is better to build something while you are learning as (so you can see how things really work!) opposed to just reading some book on db's. Also by learning CF you will really open up your possibilites for work related to the web.

I would say 12 months is a fair estimation if you stick to your guns on this.  Maybe a few hours each week.

Forget classes unless you know the intructor is good, there are way too many horrible teachers out there.  Usually a good book can do the teaching for you and you can do it on your own schedule!


there's more than one way to...



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#4 06-06-2003 11:38:34

webmaster
Administrator
From: York, PA
Registered: 04-20-2001
Posts: 19756
Website

Re: Need Database Advice

I'd like to throw my two cents in and recommend MySQL over Linux.  It's by far the most widely supported and used database on the web (if the web is what you're interested in).  I have two books on my bookshelf that I think are very good:

"MySQL & mSQL" by Yarger, Reese & King
"Programming the Perl DBI" by Descartes & Bunce

Both are published by O'Reilly and are cheaper on Amazon than anywhere else. 

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#5 06-06-2003 12:10:27

Guest
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Re: Need Database Advice

Thanks Guys, sounds like focusing on Coldfusion and MySQL would be a good starting point. As to some of your questions, I wish I had answers but I just don’t know enough at this point to answer…….as silly as that might sound. I own  business and have literally thousands of items I would like to incorporate into my site. Currently I have around 400-500 or so online that can be purchased via CCP. My basic skills have carried me along way, so I can only image what would be possible if I had the skills to incorporate a database. Plus I would certainly think that doing product updates and deleting discontinued items would be much easier. Time to go buy a couple of books!

Tom

 

#6 06-06-2003 12:57:51

Todd
Member
From: Kitty Hawk, NC
Registered: 04-01-2003
Posts: 553
Website

Re: Need Database Advice

<font size="1" color="#FF0000">LAST EDITED ON 06-06-03 AT 01:59 PM (EST)</font><p>Tom, if your only looking to improve your website performance with a database, you definately do not to read any books on it.

Most hosting companies offer MySQL with some hosting plans.  If you dont currently have MySQL in your plan, bump up your acct type.  Then the host should provide you information about your MySQL config.  Usually they provide a web form that will allow you to set up a database.

It is very easy to do.

Some hosts setup by default a db in MySQL for all accounts with that service feature.

Usually the db will be named using your domain name.

Example:  microsoft_com

If this is the case they will also have provided a user name and password for your db.

So in CCP you would connect to your db this way.

Go to 'Database Utilities'
Configure RDBMS Connection

Leave the field that says 'localhost' as is.  Should be fine.
db_name: microsoft_com
db_user: username
db_pass: password

After you submit, go to manage table data sources.  Now you can change from CSV to MySQL.


there's more than one way to...



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#7 06-08-2003 04:22:20

jaavi
Member
Registered: 02-27-2003
Posts: 121

Re: Need Database Advice

I have read the coldfusion 4.0 by Ben Forta and I don't think Coldfusion is for Tom, as it's more of a programming language and only briefly refers to databases, from what I gather Tom is using the ccp5 and wants to polish up his skills by learning and having the integration of some sort of data base with ccp5, I like access and am quite novice in it which deep down it uses MsSql, but I have not integrated it with ccp5 yet. But I came across a book called "Sams Teach yourself sql in 24 hrs" which I found very easy read and useful for a beginner, this book could be a good starting point.

greetings, Joey.

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