Introducing the New Emoticons Database
July 13, 2006 — by Per Christensson
The database migration of Sharpened.net continues. First, it was the glossary of computer terms in 2001, followed shortly by the editor's updates. Then the Help Center questions went to a database format in 2002. Last year, I added a new Reviews section and converted the file extensions list to a database. Then I did the same thing with the chat acronyms just a few months ago. So the next logical step was to convert the list of emoticons to a database format as well.
But why convert everything to a database? Well, there are actually several significant reasons. First of all, it makes it much easier to add new content. Instead of adding information to HTML pages (which requires opening the Web development program, the site file, and the necessary pages each time), I can add new content directly through a secure, Web-based interface. This allows me to be more lazy or more efficient, depending on how you look at it. Secondly, it makes organizing the content much easier. You may have noticed that several pages in the Glossary and Help Center sections of Sharpened.net have terms listed alphabetically or by initial. This process is completely automated thanks to some PHP scripts that retrieve information from the database, though I will admit that initially writing the scripts can take quite a bit of work.
Finally, using a database to store most of Sharpened.net's content allows me to add search features that would otherwise not be possible. For example, on the Acronyms and Emoticons pages, you can search for an acronym or emoticon using a search box specific to that section. Since most Web users have become more accustomed to searching rather than browsing (myself included), I feel it is important to include search features within Sharpened.net.
So visit the new database-driven Emoticons section and try the search box out. Right now, I have just over 200 emoticons in the database, so there is plenty of room to grow. And you know what that means! Send me your suggestions for new emoticons or let me know if there is any other feedback you might have. As always, thanks for visiting!