Database - summary

Steve at Steve at
Thu Jan 17 15:00:43 CST 2002

No question that Access (and FoxPro, FileMakerPro, etc) work very well for
moderate-sized databases, certainly up into the low 100,000's of rows per
table.  They also work in multi-user environments but hit the wall much
sooner than things like Oracle and SQLServer.  The real problem, however, is
with scaling.  It's not a problem viewing an entire table with many
thousands of rows, but it doesn't work with 200,000 rows or when data is
normalised across 3 or 4 tables.  It's certainly getting better, but the
larger and more complex the data gets the more careful you need to be and
the less suitable raw Access/FoxPro/FileMaker interfaces become.

Regarding web-serving of images from BioLink, no problem.  We can provide an
active server page (ASP) and stored procedure code to anyone interested
(both are only a handful of lines).  You can also set up a virtual directory
with IIS and SQLServer2000 and publish images with a simple SELECT statement
embedded in a web page.

The reason the BioLink Team hasn't developed general Web access tools is
two-fold: first, we feel our time is better spent making sure BioLink works
well and second there are so many web development options and environments
out there that it seems silly to try and compete with them.
DreamWeaver/FrontPage/Pick-Your-Favotite-Tool all work very well and we
suggest giving them a try.

We personally use DreamWeaver UltraDev and ASP for publishing BioLink data.
We're currently working on a new site and plan to make the ASP code and
SQLServer stored procedures freely available when complete.  However, there
are clearly strong views about web development methods with no clear
winners.  Essentially every web site is different even when they contain
essentially the same information.  From a software developer's perspective
it's a nightmare.

Our original hope was that BioLink would provide robust data collection and
storage tools and individual users could then publish the data as they
needed with minimal help from us.  That's one of the reasons for choosing
SQLServer - it has a wide range of third-party tools for data access and
there are lots of people out there how know how to work with it.  While it
is still challenging to publish databases on web sites it's not all that
hard, especially with the help of appropriate tools.

Finally, as a special deal to all you dedicated TAXACOM participants, we're
prepared to send you a copy of the latest version of BioLink at no cost.
Just send us your mailing details and what you plan to use BioLink for
(taxonomic group, area of study) and we'll mail you a CD.  It doesn't get
much better than that ;-).

Thanks, Steve Shattuck and the BioLink Team

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