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Topic # 112158 28-Nov-2012 11:09
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Over the past year I've been working on a website for my school as part of my scholarship portfolio. The website was a success, and will save my school around $300 in fees by not using a third-party solution. Now that it's done, I want to turn it into a proper product so that other schools can use it. I've gotten permission from the school to do this.

I signed up to BizSpark, and they accepted my application. I feel that hosting the website on Azure is a no-brainer, I mean free scalable cloud hosting, I'd be nuts to turn that down. However the database is what I'm pondering.

The website revolves around a MySQL database, however even though Azure offers MySQL should I consider switching to a SQL Server database? I feel that Microsoft giving me free access to these services, I'm obliged to use their products.

No matter which path I chose I'll have to restructure the database. I was in a rush designing it (three days before going live, school told me something they forgot and had to do a rewrite) and there are a lot of things I want to improve (foreign keys, remove the comma-delimited fields, etc.).

But should I stick with MySQL, which I know well and have used before, or move over to SQL Server for the sake of hosting the website on Azure?

Website stats:
  • Written in ColdFusion (requirement by the school) but porting the code to PHP
  • MySQL database
  • Only two rival products in New Zealand that are competing with me.
Almost forgot to say, it's a parent teacher interview booking website. You register, enter your children, site tells you who their teachers are, you book a time slot, website generates a PDF timetable for you and off you go.

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  Reply # 724067 28-Nov-2012 11:16
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if you dont have a lot of time, then i would say no.

if you have some time, and want to learn another DB (SQL Server is my personal favourite db) then sure why not.

also you might want to checkout asp.net instead of php. if you love php and want to stick with it then cool, but asp.net has the best IDE around (visual studio, there is a free express version which should do all the things you need) and microsoft is really behind it, so always getting new stuff to play with (asp.net mvc4, webapi, razor all good things).

since you're developing with azure, asp.net might make your life easier.

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  Reply # 724073 28-Nov-2012 11:22
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Just because you are given the stack it doesn't you have to use all the products.

Are you planning to run this as a service to schools? Is the SQL license free forever or only for development/testing (MSDN style) or evaluation (Technet style)? If you have to later buy or rent MS SQL then it will cost more for your product to come out.

If you are not doing it as a service then are schools prepared to pay for SQL licenses (which aren't cheap)?

Perhaps in this scheme better use the compute power and go for the free database instead?




 
 
 
 




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  Reply # 724100 28-Nov-2012 11:47
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also you might want to checkout asp.net instead of php. if you love php and want to stick with it then cool, but asp.net has the best IDE around (visual studio, there is a free express version which should do all the things you need) and microsoft is really behind it, so always getting new stuff to play with (asp.net mvc4, webapi, razor all good things).


Main problem is that I develop on a Mac, and my HDD isn't big enough to dual boot Windows. I did have a look at ASP.NET and more specifically Razor, but I have absolutely no experience using it. I've used PHP for a couple of years so I feel more comfortable using it.  I'd rather build a website using a language where I know my way around.

Are you planning to run this as a service to schools? Is the SQL license free forever or only for development/testing (MSDN style) or evaluation (Technet style)? If you have to later buy or rent MS SQL then it will cost more for your product to come out. 


The website is a subscription based service. School pays a yearly fee for unlimited interview sessions and with full access to features. With BizSpark an Azure-hosted SQL Server database, you've got a three year license to use the software but after that you've got to pay a discounted fee for continuing to use their services. So there is always that risk of having to move off Azure and start paying for a SQL Server license (which I had a heart attack when i looked at the pricing)

After reading over the replies, maybe it might just be easier to use MySQL. That way if I have to move off Azure I don't have to worry about SQL Server licensing.

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  Reply # 724104 28-Nov-2012 11:52
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possum888:
also you might want to checkout asp.net instead of php. if you love php and want to stick with it then cool, but asp.net has the best IDE around (visual studio, there is a free express version which should do all the things you need) and microsoft is really behind it, so always getting new stuff to play with (asp.net mvc4, webapi, razor all good things).


Main problem is that I develop on a Mac, and my HDD isn't big enough to dual boot Windows. I did have a look at ASP.NET and more specifically Razor, but I have absolutely no experience using it. I've used PHP for a couple of years so I feel more comfortable using it.  I'd rather build a website using a language where I know my way around.


In that case, at least look at ruby on rails or something, after reading this:

http://me.veekun.com/blog/2012/04/09/php-a-fractal-of-bad-design/

(I'm half tongue-in-check, half serious.  At the very least it's a good read for a laugh)



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  Reply # 724112 28-Nov-2012 11:58
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In that case, at least look at ruby on rails or something, after reading this:
http://me.veekun.com/blog/2012/04/09/php-a-fractal-of-bad-design/

(I'm half tongue-in-check, half serious.  At the very least it's a good read for a laugh)


Trust me I've read that before. Wink Again I'd rather stick with PHP simply for the fact that I don't have to learn a whole new language.

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  Reply # 724124 28-Nov-2012 12:06
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possum888:
Trust me I've read that before. Wink Again I'd rather stick with PHP simply for the fact that I don't have to learn a whole new language.


Fair enough; there are plenty of great sites built on PHP, but I can never resist pointing PHP devs to that - every time I end up looking at PHP code it makes me cringe :P

TBH returning to your original question around MySQL vs SQL Server I'd apply similar reasoning: If MySQL does what you need and you're familar with it then stick with it.

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