Daily Archives: June 3, 2010

Does Your Hosting Provider Do This For You?

If you are thinking of getting a hosting provider, one of the key things to look for is if the hosting provider is going to support installing additional modules. Most hosting solutions come with a list of Perl modules (same might go for PHP, Ruby and other languages you are interested in), but sometimes using some software requires additional modules.

Module installation can be provided in two ways by hosting providers that I am aware of. My knowledge is based on Hostgator. One option is to log a ticket and they install the module at the site level, that is, all the websites on that server can start using that module. The other option is to have it at the user level. That is, rather than logging a ticket, you can directly use the cpanel and search and install the module that you want.
They even provide a small snippet of perl code that needs to be put into the BEGIN {} block to make use of the modules installed at the user level. The code essentially includes the extra path to the user level perl modules to the @INC variable.

While user level modules work most of the time, there are times that’s not possible. Some of the perl modules require not just perl code but some C code. Compiling C code requires a cc/gcc compiler and Hostgator doesn’t allow users to do this. But simply logging a ticket would be sufficient for them to install it at the site level.

Recently, one user who wanted to use my software needed to install a perl module. He uses GoDaddy. He came back and told me there is no option to install extra module. It’s almost a deal breaker. But luckily, this specific perl module is pure perl code and so I gave the module code and asked him to put it with rest of the script.

I suggest that you always make sure your hosting provider can support your needs.

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People Search

Today I was searching for the name of a person who is at the Executive level at a small software company. The first two pages were filled with a few web pages related to this person, but many more were filled with web pages related to another person with the same name and talking about some lawsuit that person was engaged in.

Then I thought that there should be a better way to provide searching by people’s name. Here is my idea.

1) First and foremost, the search engine should recognize that the search is about a person’s name.
2) The search engine should have the capability to distinguish two webpages containing the same name but different persons. This is not as easy, but context should help a lot.
3) But more importantly, at the time of presenting the results, each search result should be associated to an image, some kind of gravatar. This would help people searching to distinguish between the search results of one person vs the other. In some cases, just reading the surrounding text should help, but may not always be the case. However, if the search engine could detect which of the two people XYZ are being referred to in the webpage, then even if just the name is used to do the search, the results could still be visually presented indicating which page is about which of the two people (or more).

Now, which large company wants to do this? Google? Yahoo? Bing? Don’t patent your stuff though, because I just made it public. He he he.

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Filed under Bing, Google, Yahoo!