Thursday, April 28, 2011

Professional Historian wants to develop app in MySQL for document analysis

Barbara, now I understand that you ENJOY tinkering with a SQL database at a low level. Initially I just thought "professor of history" who wanted results and did not want to waste time programming. D.b. ... I was casually reading this thread while I did morning chores. I was just in shock that someone would want to struggle with MySQL at its basic level to achieve results with historical documents. But D.b. IF you stand back and take an HONEST look at your daily posts going back the  year or two that I have known you the you must admit that EVEN WHEN YOU POST in soliloquy you start off mad as hell with a string of epithets and politicians should take that F'ing opinions and use them as suppositories.  D.b. is perpetually angry and outraged about any number of matters both domestic and foreign. I see it every day and I accept it and usually let things pass without comment....... Now that I understand that Barbara ENJOYS tinkering with a SQL engine at a low level then it occurs to me the actual advantages of such an approach.  SQL is basically OPEN SOURCE even though their are commercial providers such as Oracle and open source such as MySQL and PostgreSQL. So whatever Barabara develops in terms of data structures to categorize and search historical documents... that data structure will be usable by the world community as open source should she donate it.  I never for a moment entertained the question of whether Barbara is fluent in SQL. I assumed that even a fluent expert would prefer a shrink wrapped out of the box solution over re-inventing the wheel. No matter how skilled one is in programming or SQL one would be foolish to write an accounting program from scratch IF a business could run on Intuit Quickbooks.  Once Barbara creates her ideal SQL tables and relations then if she likes she may code HTML pages with PhP to update and search that database and generate reports. In the 1980s each and every database manager wrote their back end database structure as proprietary. There was NO easy way to migrate from one product to another.  NOW SQL has become the de facto standard for any product. Even our Facebook uses some flavor of SQL and perhaps PhP to do what it does so well. The bottom line is that SQL (any brand of SQL) gives one all the tools necessary to accomplish any task. And any custom products specialized for academic research must surely have SQL as the back end.  Once Barabara has her database loaded with all necessary info then some of the SQL query statements which are necessary to yield results can be complex and obscure which is why it is nice to capture them in PhP so they may be executed with the click of a button.  There are many support groups for SQL so IF you want to accomplish something but are not certain how then someone at such a group will usually give you the obscure SQL command necessary to yield the proper result. Being totally fluent and brilliant in SQL requires full time practice day in and day out, 8 or more hours a day, each and every day. It would be a rare person who could maintain such a level of SQL expertise AND also be a professional historian or chemist or pharmacist or dentist or other demanding field. It is said that IF one finds the ideal datastructurs, tables fields, relations THEN the problem is more than half solved for all that remains is the front end screens to manipulate the database and generate the reports, and then the data entry or import to load the database.

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