Simon Willison’s Weblog

Entries tagged databases

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Is there an open source (or freely accessible) database of geofence coordinates for common places, such as cities or national parks?

Take a look at Flickr’s openly licensed shapefiles:

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PostgreSQL: How can I store images in a database? What existing products makes it easy for a user to upload photos into a general database?

As a general rule, it’s a bad idea to store images in a database. This is due to the large amount of space they take up, which can affect database read performance and will greatly increases the size of your backups, making them both take longer and cost more to store.

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What are the key insights in mastering SQL queries?

You may find this article useful (despite the list-o-matic name): 10 Easy Steps to a Complete Understanding of SQL—I’ve been using SQL for years but I found that some of the concepts explained there helped firm up my fundamental understanding of how to use it effectively.

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NoSQL: What is the “best” solution for storing high volumes of structured data?

On the right setup, PostgreSQL can handle petabytes. There are also commercial vendors such as Greenplum that offer data warehouse solutions built on a modified version of PostgreSQL.

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How was FriendFeed’s schema less db faster than pure MySQL?

The principle reason they switched to a schemaless DB was to work around the challenges of having to make schemes changes in MySQL, which can lock the table and take hours if bit days to complete in large tables.

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What is way that android connect to Oracle database?

As a general rule it’s not a good idea to allow mobile devices to connect directly to a server-side database, as it’s an invitation to hackers to figure out what’s going on and then connect to the database themselves for nefarious reasons.

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Should I store markdown instead of HTML into database fields?

You should store the exact format that was entered by the user.

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How does a web page interact with a server to parse a dynamic JSON file?

If you’re only dealing with 60 records there’s no need to add a full database. I’ve actually hand coded a 50 record JSON file before and it was fine- use an editor with good JSON support (I like Sublime Text 2) and it’s pretty easy to hand write.

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Where can I find an updated DB of countries, states and cities?

This is a surprisingly complicated question. The first thing you might want to ask yourself is “what’s a country”—how do you deal with places on this List of states with limited recognition for example?

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What tools and techniques are used for relational database version control (structure and data)?

The term you are looking for is database migrations (sometimes called database change scripts).

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What are XML feed best practices?

It sounds like you’re pretty much screwed already, if you’re dealing with companies that still think FTPing XML around is a sensible thing to do.

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Benchmarks for scalability in NoSQL systems?

NoSQL systems are enormously varied which makes it hard (and not particularly constructive) to benchmark them against each other. How would you compare the performance of Redis, an in-memory data structure server, with Cassandra, a distributed redundant column store?

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Why does Django still not have support for multiple joins?

I don’t fully understand the question, but if you’re talking about doing a single join across multiple tables the Django ORM handles that just fine. Let’s say you want to get every BlogEntry written by a User who belongs to the Group with the name “admins”:

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Is a relational database with many-to-many relationships difficult to develop into a web app?

Many to Many tables can be a bit of a pain to deal with using regular SQL, but a good ORM can abstract away any potential complexity almost entirely. I find using the Django ORM means I’m much less likely to shy away from a design that involves a many-to-many relationship because I know it won’t increase the complexity of the application. I imagine the Rails ORM has the same effect.

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What is the largest production deployment of Redis?

I’d guess Twitter or Craigslist.

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What are people’s experiences using Memcached?

That it’s so obviously a good idea (and works so well) that you’d be crazy not to use it. As far as I’m concerned, it’s part of the default stack for any web application.

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Where can I find a database of the cities in the United States, their populations, and square miles?

On Freebase: http://www.freebase.com/view/use...—if you sign up for a Freebase account you can further filter this report to include areas.

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How do Solr, Lucene, Sphinx and Searchify compare?

Lucene is a Java library for creating and searching through a full text index. If you want to make use of it, you’ll need to write your own Java code that integrates with it.

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What is the largest production deployment of CouchDB for online use?

The BBC have a pretty big CouchDB cluster, which they use mostly as a replicated key-value store. It’s used by their new identity platform which includes customisation features for iPlayer.

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