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Building a brand new database and app, what technologies would you use?

By dbest1 ·
OK, you're a small startup who has an idea for a brand new web-based database and application. What database would you build it with and why? What application development platform would you use and why? Remember, you're a startup so cost, scalability, and ease of installation and maintenance are your primary concerns.

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Cost versus Ease of Use

From a pure cost standpoint, youre best going with open source....Linux OS, MySQL database, a Java application server like Tomcat, and Apache for your presentation layer.

The problem is that open source, while incredibly cost-effective....may cost you in terms of ease of installation and maintenance. Although Linux is definitely getting easier to install and maintain, it's definitely not as "user friendly" as Windows yet, especially if you are using strange hardware. Java is a wonderful, portable language.....but setting up and maintaining a J2EE environment is a lot of work and can quickly get out of control if you're not careful. MySQL is definitely cheaper than SQL Server and Oracle, but it lacks some of the advanced database features of those products.

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Maintenance and installation is barely

by Tony Hopkinson In reply to Cost versus Ease of Use

an issue with known hardware. Admittedly, I've a great deal of experience particuarly with different O/S's but I had none with Linux, Unix, MySQl or Apache and they did more than barely raise an eyebrow. Had more problems installing a patched 2K server, and I'm meant to know how to do that. Google and a quick chat with some of the the professionals on various site, reduced installation to little more than putting in the distro CD and cycling the power. As for maintenance apart from learning cron and a bit of perl, the only thing I have to do is label up a DVD once a week, for offsite backup given the hardware setup I have in place.

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Me personally

by Tony Hopkinson In reply to Building a brand new data ...

I've been growing linux/mysql/apache setups on my windowsill. Dirt cheap, minimal maintenance, hugely reliable. Scalability achieved by just throwing another server into the setup and organising data so you have few if any cross database joins.
I found it very easy without any MySQL or Linux experience.
Of course that means no activeX or .net, but in my opinion that's a blessing. Used PHp and Perl to create pages. Knock them up in your favourite tool on a windows system (not FrontPage) and ftp them up to the server. Dreamweaver scores high, it costs a bit but the productivity enhancements should offset the cost easily. I use notepad and a Magazine copy of HotMeTaL Pro but the guys I work for squeeze their money real tight before they let go of it.
If you need Microsoft tech you are looking at windows though, you can still have a linux database. Indeed if you are planning on a good bit of traffic and some extensive database work, putting your database server on a separate machine is probably a necessity anyway.

If you use PostGreSQL, I'd be interested to know how you get on, I'm in full persuasion mode trying to get my firm to have a go at it at the moment.
Best O' luck.

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by Jaqui In reply to Me personally

is an enterprise class sql server, comapres very well with oracle and sybase in capabilities.

not as fast as mysql, but more secure in design.
it uses about 90% of the sql language.
( I haven't seen a single sql db engine that has 100% )
also, as it's under the bsd license, not the gnu-gpl, your company can market any apps created with it with no concerns over licensing issues.

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More factors

by jdmercha In reply to Building a brand new data ...

I'd need to consider more factors before deciding.

First off - Where does my expertise lie? Personally I know the MS products best. But am I alone or do I have another person with me that might know other products better? What are my personel resources?

Secondly - Can I leverage existing open source code? Do I have to develop my applications entirely from scratch, or is there existing code out there that I can borrow and modify? My platform choice may be swayed by the code I find.

Thirdly - How robust does the application need to be? How many users do I expect to attach to the database? How many hits do I expect on my website. If I'm not expecting many, I might go witih Linux/MySQL. If I expect more users I might then go with MS. But if I expect a ton of users I'd look at Unix/Oracle.

Fourth - What do I have for financing? Where can I adjust my finaces? What do I need most. another developer or more powerful hardware. I have to find the right balance. But financing comes last. If I can't do it right with the finaces I have, then I have to look for more money somewhere.

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by Jaqui In reply to Building a brand new data ...

any full linux distro.
with apache webserver, postgresql, php.
or, for extra app security, xhtml calling a compiled c, c++ cgi for the processing.

then site variables and db data and app variables don't all get publicly exposed.

postgresql has better security features than mysql.
and all the software is free.

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Great - now a few new variables and questions.....

by dbest1 In reply to simple

I like the answers I've read here -- many thanks! But I forgot to mention a few other variables. My web dev exp is limited to HTML, CSS, and basic PHP/MySQL running on hosted servers. I've no doubt I can pick up Linux, Apache, Postgresql and even c++ cgi, but could use some pointers in the right direction. Sounds like everyone would recommend I set up my own Linux server, again -- no experience hosting myself. Any specific, focused resources you could offer for semi-beginner level guidance would be greatly appreciated. Thanks again.

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Well I did it with

by Tony Hopkinson In reply to Great - now a few new var ...

a standard distro install & google. Barely had to learn anything more than enabling PHP in apache and loading the packages to access mysql. Course my site is inside a DMZ, so I didn't have to put a great deal of effort into it.
Are you going to be able to do everything web wise as a static page or with server side scripting.
None of that 'orrible activeX stuff ?

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Microsoft Access/.net

by fultonwilcox In reply to Well I did it with

Part of your choice relates to selection of database and part to selection of development environment. For a small entity (or a big entity with a sub-enterprise need) needing quick, sophisticated web (and web services)capabilities, it is hard to beat the .Net environment plus the MS-Access data base. My group used MS Access in situations in which Microsoft itself recommended otherwise (pushing SQL server). However, today's hardware, with its greater power and reliability (and fault-tolerant capabilities like RAID) minimize what were the disadvantages of using a "personal productivity" capability.

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Not having that

by Tony Hopkinson In reply to Microsoft Access/.net

Any technology that might be capable of turning a desktop in to an enterprise database will run an enterprise database very very well.
.Net, well it's an improvement on COM obviously. But it's means you have to use ms, you probably will buy in to the 'trusted' computing model. I'm very suspicious of running alien code on my systems, so I see little point in recomending a technology solution I find at best dubious.
No particular arguments against .NET inside a DMZ, or for server side productivity, nor for access as a desktop, but for an enterprise web/db server, total non-starter as far as I'm concerned.

It was why I asked the question, if the fella's already constrained by using ms technologies, then that will obviously have an impact on the design choices.

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