Saturday, 16 October, 2004

The last couple of weeks have been very productive. I've got my first pay cheque from my new job and its nice to be flush with dollars. I'm also learning a bag of new tricks to deploy in web development. What's really surprising about this company is just how much they cache stuff. It's not just utilised on pages that are running slowly it's used on everything; everything that can be cached will be cached and as a result the performance is very impressive.

I've been wondering whether to get a dedicated server for this site but I've decided against it. I simply don't get enough traffic to warrant one and although it'd probably be a blast to have my own dedicated server sat on the Internet filled with shit I:

  1. Don't have enough shit to stick on it?
  2. I don't use my site enough to justify the eighty pounds a month charge.

Making a decision on hosting is pretty darn complex. There are many ways to achieve the same goal but all having different costs and benefits. A dedicated server allows the most flexibility but comes at the highest price. I could use ASP.NET 2.0 and SQL server 2005 and set the sucker up exactly the way I want to but all that fun comes at a price! Then you have the range of shared hosting solutions such as then professional package.

Then there is the professional package which is okay but still a bit expensive at sixteen pounds a month. The reason I decided to purchase this package was because of SQL Server as it's only available on the professional package. This package has ASP.NET support but it doesn't allow you to put compiled code on the server. You have to script it like ASP and I've found that for like for like code ASP.NET is slower as a result.

Next in line is the Business package that lacks ASP.NET support and SQL Server but has ASP. This was the package I used to have but since this blog first started back in November 2002 I've had the blog database corrupt twice and lost all my posts on each occasion. Not only is it annoying but you lose a bit of history about yourself. You start asking questions like what did I write in my first blog post? Anyway, I digress the point is that after that I'm very reluctant to trust Microsoft Access databases and other file based databases in general.

Then there's the home packages with no server side scripting at all. While it would be possible to redesign the site to work in this way it just isn't flexible. Every three or four months my web-site fever returns and I make some fundamental changes to the way the site works. Going to a static HTML site would be a one-way trip in many respects. It'd take quite a few hours of coding time to produce the page generation code.

You're probably wondering why PHP/MySQL hasn't been mentioned here - well yes MySQL is defintely more robust than Microsoft Access and PHP is up to the job but there are some big differences between PHP and ASP and before I can even start to treat the proposal seriously I have to be sure my service provider allows a few things like allow php to read and write to the disk and what not. There are language differences that are annoying too like there is no equivelent of the Application object in php. Sure you can cache to the disk but it's not the same really. MySQL isn't a serious database like SQL Server is and lacks things like stored procedures and I like stored procedures Emoticon: Sad

Really, what I need is just ASP and SQL Server at low cost. That way I have a scripting language that is good enough for the task and a robust database. Decisions, decisions, decisions arggghhh.. at any rate when I work out exactly what I want I'll announce it to the world in the usual way!!! Emoticon: Smile


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