SQL SERVER – Images and media file management in SQL Server and MySQL – Coding Media Management Tools is Never Easy

A core element to both web and mobile app development is rich media management. How you approach the control of images in particular can be tricky. In most cases you have two avenues: You either save it as a database BLOB or simply link to it as a file. Going the BLOB route does have it disadvantages: Saving it as a BLOB in the database inflates it, thereby robbing you of easier access to the media files. You also have to consider that databases are far more expensive than storage, especially when using the resources of the cloud.

That’s not to say however this approach doesn’t have its advantages: Once stored any media is protected by the database integrity so you don’t find yourself suffering from corrupt or lost files and media. Not to mention all your precious media is protected by the inherent security of the database. That being said most developers I know prefer avoid BLOB’ing and instead link to the media file location in the database. This brings us naturally to the core concern for Business and Developers: Coding an effective Media Management web tool.

It’s going to need an upload UI with restrictions on file types and sizes. It will need to save files in either local or cloud storage like Amazon S3 or Azure (and create an authorized download URL if you want the files stored on private storage). The upload should also save the appropriate link in the database for the frontend application as well. You may also need the capability to run additional processing on the uploaded image such as image manipulation or assign it a name or path according to additional information in the row.

Take a simple example: You have an employee with a photo. You want to save each photo with the employee name and the auto identifier key of the row so that every time an employee the employee uploads his photo it will overwrite his old photo – but ensure than employees with the same name will not overwrite each other. On top of that, you want to manage your media files with all the other textual content of the frontend app, implement additional business rules much like the photo example and edit and filter the database as well. An effective media management web tool deployed in a business environment will also require robust role security if it’s to be of any use. What initially started out as seemingly simple development task has quite quickly become a complicated, never mind time-consuming and expensive project.

Many businesses don’t have the resources to implement an effective web management solution (never mind the needed in-house expertise). It’s why the  Back& platform provides a web management for databases including media files. For one thing it’s simple: Here’s a how-to video where set up takes a few clicks.  In addition to managing media files it’s replete with additional features like smart entry forms that automatically take into consideration the relations and data types, charts reports and dashboards, data driven actions and a ton of other great options that set business up with an instant ready to use web administration for an application database. A service like this is perfect for me compared to when I have to develop an admin tool myself. I have to adjust it each time I/ add a new feature to my frontend app. With Back& however, changes in the schema are done automatically. Further adjustments like label renaming, colour schema, column orders and so much more can be easily adjusted by the user himself. Not only does it save me a ton of development time it gives my users a far better administration tool. Empowering users to do their work easier and more effectively is after all the core concern for developers and businesses alike. 

Why spend money and time away from front end business concerns developing tools when a feature rich platform like Back& is just a free click away?

Reference: Pinal Dave (http://blog.sqlauthority.com)

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