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Req: Need suggestions for search algorithm

Hi

I'm working on a site which requires the users to specify a hotel at which
they're staying in London. The complete list of hotels comes to something
like 1600 records. Each record consists of Hotel Name, Street Address and
Postcode.

We need to make it as simple as possible for users to pick their hotel, but
I don't want to put 1600 hotel names in a drop-down list, and we have to
consider the fact that not every user is going to know the full name and
address of their hotel. Furthermore, we have to assume that misspellings
will be common and also the shortening of address elements. For example,

"Road" could be entered as "Rd", "Rd." or "Road"
"Street" could be "St", "St." or "Street"
"Lane" could be "Ln", "Lne" or "Lane" etc

Taking all these scenarios and requirements into hand can anyone suggest a
fool-proof yet easy to use mechanism for providing this sort of search
capability on a web-page?

I'm using ADO.NET to interface to Sql Server 2000 db. Would Full-text
indexing on this table be of any use?

I'm intersted to know how people would go about this themselves.

Thanks

Ben
Nov 19 '05 #1
8 1777
Hi Ben,

A little while ago, just before Google went public, Microsoft tried to buy
them. Why? Because they have the best search engine in the world. But, you
might ask, why would Microsoft, a software company that employs thousands of
programmers need to buy a search engine, when they can write their own? The
answer is simple: Google does almost nothing but search software. And it is
not easy to write. In fact, Google has thousands of computers to share the
load. Their search routines, while secret, must be humongous.

So, in answer to your question:
Taking all these scenarios and requirements into hand can anyone suggest a
fool-proof yet easy to use mechanism for providing this sort of search
capability on a web-page?
The answer is "no." Not fool-proof, and by no stretch of the imagination
easy!

--
HTH,

Kevin Spencer
Microsoft MVP
..Net Developer
What You Seek Is What You Get.

"Ben Fidge" <be*******@btop enworld.com> wrote in message
news:%2******** ********@TK2MSF TNGP14.phx.gbl. .. Hi

I'm working on a site which requires the users to specify a hotel at which
they're staying in London. The complete list of hotels comes to something
like 1600 records. Each record consists of Hotel Name, Street Address and
Postcode.

We need to make it as simple as possible for users to pick their hotel,
but I don't want to put 1600 hotel names in a drop-down list, and we have
to consider the fact that not every user is going to know the full name
and address of their hotel. Furthermore, we have to assume that
misspellings will be common and also the shortening of address elements.
For example,

"Road" could be entered as "Rd", "Rd." or "Road"
"Street" could be "St", "St." or "Street"
"Lane" could be "Ln", "Lne" or "Lane" etc

Taking all these scenarios and requirements into hand can anyone suggest a
fool-proof yet easy to use mechanism for providing this sort of search
capability on a web-page?

I'm using ADO.NET to interface to Sql Server 2000 db. Would Full-text
indexing on this table be of any use?

I'm intersted to know how people would go about this themselves.

Thanks

Ben

Nov 19 '05 #2
Hi Kevin,

I appreciate your comments but I'm still left with the task of providing
this functionality to our end-users. As you are probably aware, the average
web-user gets distracted or bored very easily, so the easier and more
intuitive I can make an interface the better. The aim here is to guide their
selection of hotel from a list using the most efficient and time-saving
means possible. As programmers, we need to be aware that 99% of the time our
users are not techies, but just want to buy products quickly and easily.

This is not an uncommon scenario, and i'm sure there's many developers out
there who may offer some insight into how they've tackled similar problems
in the past, be it a propritry solution or some third-party library we can
buy in.

Kind regards

Ben

"Kevin Spencer" <ke***@DIESPAMM ERSDIEtakempis. com> wrote in message
news:e3******** ******@tk2msftn gp13.phx.gbl...
Hi Ben,

A little while ago, just before Google went public, Microsoft tried to buy
them. Why? Because they have the best search engine in the world. But, you
might ask, why would Microsoft, a software company that employs thousands
of programmers need to buy a search engine, when they can write their own?
The answer is simple: Google does almost nothing but search software. And
it is not easy to write. In fact, Google has thousands of computers to
share the load. Their search routines, while secret, must be humongous.

So, in answer to your question:
Taking all these scenarios and requirements into hand can anyone suggest
a fool-proof yet easy to use mechanism for providing this sort of search
capability on a web-page?


The answer is "no." Not fool-proof, and by no stretch of the imagination
easy!

--
HTH,

Kevin Spencer
Microsoft MVP
.Net Developer
What You Seek Is What You Get.

"Ben Fidge" <be*******@btop enworld.com> wrote in message
news:%2******** ********@TK2MSF TNGP14.phx.gbl. ..
Hi

I'm working on a site which requires the users to specify a hotel at
which they're staying in London. The complete list of hotels comes to
something like 1600 records. Each record consists of Hotel Name, Street
Address and Postcode.

We need to make it as simple as possible for users to pick their hotel,
but I don't want to put 1600 hotel names in a drop-down list, and we have
to consider the fact that not every user is going to know the full name
and address of their hotel. Furthermore, we have to assume that
misspellings will be common and also the shortening of address elements.
For example,

"Road" could be entered as "Rd", "Rd." or "Road"
"Street" could be "St", "St." or "Street"
"Lane" could be "Ln", "Lne" or "Lane" etc

Taking all these scenarios and requirements into hand can anyone suggest
a fool-proof yet easy to use mechanism for providing this sort of search
capability on a web-page?

I'm using ADO.NET to interface to Sql Server 2000 db. Would Full-text
indexing on this table be of any use?

I'm intersted to know how people would go about this themselves.

Thanks

Ben


Nov 19 '05 #3
> in the past, be it a propritry solution or some third-party library we can
buy in.
Now, there's an idea. Try Googling it. I wouldn't be surprised if you can
find something that works fairly well.

--
HTH,

Kevin Spencer
Microsoft MVP
..Net Developer
What You Seek Is What You Get.

"Ben Fidge" <be*******@btop enworld.com> wrote in message
news:uw******** ******@TK2MSFTN GP15.phx.gbl... Hi Kevin,

I appreciate your comments but I'm still left with the task of providing
this functionality to our end-users. As you are probably aware, the
average web-user gets distracted or bored very easily, so the easier and
more intuitive I can make an interface the better. The aim here is to
guide their selection of hotel from a list using the most efficient and
time-saving means possible. As programmers, we need to be aware that 99%
of the time our users are not techies, but just want to buy products
quickly and easily.

This is not an uncommon scenario, and i'm sure there's many developers out
there who may offer some insight into how they've tackled similar problems
in the past, be it a propritry solution or some third-party library we can
buy in.

Kind regards

Ben

"Kevin Spencer" <ke***@DIESPAMM ERSDIEtakempis. com> wrote in message
news:e3******** ******@tk2msftn gp13.phx.gbl...
Hi Ben,

A little while ago, just before Google went public, Microsoft tried to
buy them. Why? Because they have the best search engine in the world.
But, you might ask, why would Microsoft, a software company that employs
thousands of programmers need to buy a search engine, when they can write
their own? The answer is simple: Google does almost nothing but search
software. And it is not easy to write. In fact, Google has thousands of
computers to share the load. Their search routines, while secret, must be
humongous.

So, in answer to your question:
Taking all these scenarios and requirements into hand can anyone suggest
a fool-proof yet easy to use mechanism for providing this sort of search
capability on a web-page?


The answer is "no." Not fool-proof, and by no stretch of the imagination
easy!

--
HTH,

Kevin Spencer
Microsoft MVP
.Net Developer
What You Seek Is What You Get.

"Ben Fidge" <be*******@btop enworld.com> wrote in message
news:%2******** ********@TK2MSF TNGP14.phx.gbl. ..
Hi

I'm working on a site which requires the users to specify a hotel at
which they're staying in London. The complete list of hotels comes to
something like 1600 records. Each record consists of Hotel Name, Street
Address and Postcode.

We need to make it as simple as possible for users to pick their hotel,
but I don't want to put 1600 hotel names in a drop-down list, and we
have to consider the fact that not every user is going to know the full
name and address of their hotel. Furthermore, we have to assume that
misspellings will be common and also the shortening of address elements.
For example,

"Road" could be entered as "Rd", "Rd." or "Road"
"Street" could be "St", "St." or "Street"
"Lane" could be "Ln", "Lne" or "Lane" etc

Taking all these scenarios and requirements into hand can anyone suggest
a fool-proof yet easy to use mechanism for providing this sort of search
capability on a web-page?

I'm using ADO.NET to interface to Sql Server 2000 db. Would Full-text
indexing on this table be of any use?

I'm intersted to know how people would go about this themselves.

Thanks

Ben



Nov 19 '05 #4
I saw once someone who used an algorithm that computes the minimal amount of
elementary changes (ie. letter deletion or letter addition and perhaps
swaps) to match a particular target word. It gives a kind of "proximity"
level between two words...

If I remember I suggested to divide this result by the length of the word to
have a similar range regardless of the length word (to have a number of
changes per letter rather than just a number of changes).

Unfortunately I don't remember how it's named but you should hopefully find
it from its description

Patrice
--

"Ben Fidge" <be*******@btop enworld.com> a écrit dans le message de
news:uw******** ******@TK2MSFTN GP15.phx.gbl...
Hi Kevin,

I appreciate your comments but I'm still left with the task of providing
this functionality to our end-users. As you are probably aware, the average web-user gets distracted or bored very easily, so the easier and more
intuitive I can make an interface the better. The aim here is to guide their selection of hotel from a list using the most efficient and time-saving
means possible. As programmers, we need to be aware that 99% of the time our users are not techies, but just want to buy products quickly and easily.

This is not an uncommon scenario, and i'm sure there's many developers out
there who may offer some insight into how they've tackled similar problems
in the past, be it a propritry solution or some third-party library we can
buy in.

Kind regards

Ben

"Kevin Spencer" <ke***@DIESPAMM ERSDIEtakempis. com> wrote in message
news:e3******** ******@tk2msftn gp13.phx.gbl...
Hi Ben,

A little while ago, just before Google went public, Microsoft tried to buy them. Why? Because they have the best search engine in the world. But, you might ask, why would Microsoft, a software company that employs thousands of programmers need to buy a search engine, when they can write their own? The answer is simple: Google does almost nothing but search software. And it is not easy to write. In fact, Google has thousands of computers to
share the load. Their search routines, while secret, must be humongous.

So, in answer to your question:
Taking all these scenarios and requirements into hand can anyone suggest a fool-proof yet easy to use mechanism for providing this sort of search capability on a web-page?


The answer is "no." Not fool-proof, and by no stretch of the imagination
easy!

--
HTH,

Kevin Spencer
Microsoft MVP
.Net Developer
What You Seek Is What You Get.

"Ben Fidge" <be*******@btop enworld.com> wrote in message
news:%2******** ********@TK2MSF TNGP14.phx.gbl. ..
Hi

I'm working on a site which requires the users to specify a hotel at
which they're staying in London. The complete list of hotels comes to
something like 1600 records. Each record consists of Hotel Name, Street
Address and Postcode.

We need to make it as simple as possible for users to pick their hotel,
but I don't want to put 1600 hotel names in a drop-down list, and we have to consider the fact that not every user is going to know the full name
and address of their hotel. Furthermore, we have to assume that
misspellings will be common and also the shortening of address elements. For example,

"Road" could be entered as "Rd", "Rd." or "Road"
"Street" could be "St", "St." or "Street"
"Lane" could be "Ln", "Lne" or "Lane" etc

Taking all these scenarios and requirements into hand can anyone suggest a fool-proof yet easy to use mechanism for providing this sort of search capability on a web-page?

I'm using ADO.NET to interface to Sql Server 2000 db. Would Full-text
indexing on this table be of any use?

I'm intersted to know how people would go about this themselves.

Thanks

Ben



Nov 19 '05 #5
"Kevin Spencer" <ke***@DIESPAMM ERSDIEtakempis. com> wrote in message
news:ke***@DIES PAMMERSDIEtakem pis.com:
in the past, be it a propritry solution or some third-party library we can
buy in.


Now, there's an idea. Try Googling it. I wouldn't be surprised if you can
find something that works fairly well.


I think you might even be able to license Google technology...

--

-shane

Nov 19 '05 #6
This is the "Levenshtei n Distance" also called sometimes the "Edit
Distance".

Try :
http://www.merriampark.com/ld.htm

Patrice

--

"Patrice" <no****@nowhere .com> a écrit dans le message de
news:%2******** ********@TK2MSF TNGP12.phx.gbl. ..
I saw once someone who used an algorithm that computes the minimal amount of elementary changes (ie. letter deletion or letter addition and perhaps
swaps) to match a particular target word. It gives a kind of "proximity"
level between two words...

If I remember I suggested to divide this result by the length of the word to have a similar range regardless of the length word (to have a number of
changes per letter rather than just a number of changes).

Unfortunately I don't remember how it's named but you should hopefully find it from its description

Patrice
--

"Ben Fidge" <be*******@btop enworld.com> a écrit dans le message de
news:uw******** ******@TK2MSFTN GP15.phx.gbl...
Hi Kevin,

I appreciate your comments but I'm still left with the task of providing
this functionality to our end-users. As you are probably aware, the

average
web-user gets distracted or bored very easily, so the easier and more
intuitive I can make an interface the better. The aim here is to guide

their
selection of hotel from a list using the most efficient and time-saving
means possible. As programmers, we need to be aware that 99% of the time

our
users are not techies, but just want to buy products quickly and easily.

This is not an uncommon scenario, and i'm sure there's many developers out
there who may offer some insight into how they've tackled similar problems in the past, be it a propritry solution or some third-party library we can buy in.

Kind regards

Ben

"Kevin Spencer" <ke***@DIESPAMM ERSDIEtakempis. com> wrote in message
news:e3******** ******@tk2msftn gp13.phx.gbl...
Hi Ben,

A little while ago, just before Google went public, Microsoft tried to

buy them. Why? Because they have the best search engine in the world. But, you might ask, why would Microsoft, a software company that employs thousands of programmers need to buy a search engine, when they can write their own? The answer is simple: Google does almost nothing but search software. And it is not easy to write. In fact, Google has thousands of computers to
share the load. Their search routines, while secret, must be humongous.
So, in answer to your question:

> Taking all these scenarios and requirements into hand can anyone suggest> a fool-proof yet easy to use mechanism for providing this sort of search> capability on a web-page?

The answer is "no." Not fool-proof, and by no stretch of the imagination easy!

--
HTH,

Kevin Spencer
Microsoft MVP
.Net Developer
What You Seek Is What You Get.

"Ben Fidge" <be*******@btop enworld.com> wrote in message
news:%2******** ********@TK2MSF TNGP14.phx.gbl. ..
> Hi
>
> I'm working on a site which requires the users to specify a hotel at
> which they're staying in London. The complete list of hotels comes to
> something like 1600 records. Each record consists of Hotel Name, Street> Address and Postcode.
>
> We need to make it as simple as possible for users to pick their hotel,> but I don't want to put 1600 hotel names in a drop-down list, and we have> to consider the fact that not every user is going to know the full name> and address of their hotel. Furthermore, we have to assume that
> misspellings will be common and also the shortening of address elements.> For example,
>
> "Road" could be entered as "Rd", "Rd." or "Road"
> "Street" could be "St", "St." or "Street"
> "Lane" could be "Ln", "Lne" or "Lane" etc
>
> Taking all these scenarios and requirements into hand can anyone suggest> a fool-proof yet easy to use mechanism for providing this sort of search> capability on a web-page?
>
> I'm using ADO.NET to interface to Sql Server 2000 db. Would Full-text
> indexing on this table be of any use?
>
> I'm intersted to know how people would go about this themselves.
>
> Thanks
>
> Ben
>



Nov 19 '05 #7
you need to write an address normalization routine. In the US several exist
for use CRIS tapes (address lists from the post office). if you look for
address matching software in the UK you may find one. YOu local post office
can probably give you rules.

a street address is usually in the format (US anyway - I don't know UK)

<house number> <optional direction> <street name(s)> <suffix> <optional
direction>

ex:

123 n 123 st
123 123 st nw

you sould remove periods, convert suffixs (place, way, avenue, blvd) to a
standard. i usually do a phonetic of the street name (might be able to use
the sqlserver one) to catch spelling errors. with treet and number, you can
find missing suffix and direction

ex

user enters: 1234 main

computer responds did you mean: 1234 main street or 1234 main blvd?.

you can refine, by linking to hotel name.
-- bruce (sqlwork.com)





"Ben Fidge" <be*******@btop enworld.com> wrote in message
news:%2******** ********@TK2MSF TNGP14.phx.gbl. ..
Hi

I'm working on a site which requires the users to specify a hotel at which
they're staying in London. The complete list of hotels comes to something
like 1600 records. Each record consists of Hotel Name, Street Address and
Postcode.

We need to make it as simple as possible for users to pick their hotel,
but I don't want to put 1600 hotel names in a drop-down list, and we have
to consider the fact that not every user is going to know the full name
and address of their hotel. Furthermore, we have to assume that
misspellings will be common and also the shortening of address elements.
For example,

"Road" could be entered as "Rd", "Rd." or "Road"
"Street" could be "St", "St." or "Street"
"Lane" could be "Ln", "Lne" or "Lane" etc

Taking all these scenarios and requirements into hand can anyone suggest a
fool-proof yet easy to use mechanism for providing this sort of search
capability on a web-page?

I'm using ADO.NET to interface to Sql Server 2000 db. Would Full-text
indexing on this table be of any use?

I'm intersted to know how people would go about this themselves.

Thanks

Ben

Nov 19 '05 #8
Hi Patrice,

I have heard of Levenshtein Distance algorithm. I'll look to see how I can
use it.

Thanks for the positive help.

Ben

"Patrice" <no****@nowhere .com> wrote in message
news:O$******** ******@TK2MSFTN GP12.phx.gbl...
This is the "Levenshtei n Distance" also called sometimes the "Edit
Distance".

Try :
http://www.merriampark.com/ld.htm

Patrice

--

"Patrice" <no****@nowhere .com> a écrit dans le message de
news:%2******** ********@TK2MSF TNGP12.phx.gbl. ..
I saw once someone who used an algorithm that computes the minimal amount

of
elementary changes (ie. letter deletion or letter addition and perhaps
swaps) to match a particular target word. It gives a kind of "proximity"
level between two words...

If I remember I suggested to divide this result by the length of the word

to
have a similar range regardless of the length word (to have a number of
changes per letter rather than just a number of changes).

Unfortunately I don't remember how it's named but you should hopefully

find
it from its description

Patrice
--

"Ben Fidge" <be*******@btop enworld.com> a écrit dans le message de
news:uw******** ******@TK2MSFTN GP15.phx.gbl...
> Hi Kevin,
>
> I appreciate your comments but I'm still left with the task of
> providing
> this functionality to our end-users. As you are probably aware, the

average
> web-user gets distracted or bored very easily, so the easier and more
> intuitive I can make an interface the better. The aim here is to guide

their
> selection of hotel from a list using the most efficient and time-saving
> means possible. As programmers, we need to be aware that 99% of the
> time

our
> users are not techies, but just want to buy products quickly and
> easily.
>
> This is not an uncommon scenario, and i'm sure there's many developers out > there who may offer some insight into how they've tackled similar problems > in the past, be it a propritry solution or some third-party library we can > buy in.
>
> Kind regards
>
> Ben
>
>
>
> "Kevin Spencer" <ke***@DIESPAMM ERSDIEtakempis. com> wrote in message
> news:e3******** ******@tk2msftn gp13.phx.gbl...
> > Hi Ben,
> >
> > A little while ago, just before Google went public, Microsoft tried
> > to

buy
> > them. Why? Because they have the best search engine in the world.
> > But,

you
> > might ask, why would Microsoft, a software company that employs

thousands
> > of programmers need to buy a search engine, when they can write their

own?
> > The answer is simple: Google does almost nothing but search software.

And
> > it is not easy to write. In fact, Google has thousands of computers
> > to
> > share the load. Their search routines, while secret, must be humongous. > >
> > So, in answer to your question:
> >
> >> Taking all these scenarios and requirements into hand can anyone

suggest
> >> a fool-proof yet easy to use mechanism for providing this sort of

search
> >> capability on a web-page?
> >
> > The answer is "no." Not fool-proof, and by no stretch of the imagination > > easy!
> >
> > --
> > HTH,
> >
> > Kevin Spencer
> > Microsoft MVP
> > .Net Developer
> > What You Seek Is What You Get.
> >
> > "Ben Fidge" <be*******@btop enworld.com> wrote in message
> > news:%2******** ********@TK2MSF TNGP14.phx.gbl. ..
> >> Hi
> >>
> >> I'm working on a site which requires the users to specify a hotel at
> >> which they're staying in London. The complete list of hotels comes
> >> to
> >> something like 1600 records. Each record consists of Hotel Name, Street > >> Address and Postcode.
> >>
> >> We need to make it as simple as possible for users to pick their hotel, > >> but I don't want to put 1600 hotel names in a drop-down list, and we

have
> >> to consider the fact that not every user is going to know the full name > >> and address of their hotel. Furthermore, we have to assume that
> >> misspellings will be common and also the shortening of address

elements.
> >> For example,
> >>
> >> "Road" could be entered as "Rd", "Rd." or "Road"
> >> "Street" could be "St", "St." or "Street"
> >> "Lane" could be "Ln", "Lne" or "Lane" etc
> >>
> >> Taking all these scenarios and requirements into hand can anyone

suggest
> >> a fool-proof yet easy to use mechanism for providing this sort of

search
> >> capability on a web-page?
> >>
> >> I'm using ADO.NET to interface to Sql Server 2000 db. Would
> >> Full-text
> >> indexing on this table be of any use?
> >>
> >> I'm intersted to know how people would go about this themselves.
> >>
> >> Thanks
> >>
> >> Ben
> >>
> >
> >
>
>



Nov 19 '05 #9

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by: Oralloy | last post by:
Hello folks, I am unable to find appropriate documentation on the type promotion of bit-fields when using the generalised comparison operator "<=>". The problem is that using the GNU compilers, it seems that the internal comparison operator "<=>" tries to promote arguments from unsigned to signed. This is as boiled down as I can make it. Here is my compilation command: g++-12 -std=c++20 -Wnarrowing bit_field.cpp Here is the code in...
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jinu1996
by: jinu1996 | last post by:
In today's digital age, having a compelling online presence is paramount for businesses aiming to thrive in a competitive landscape. At the heart of this digital strategy lies an intricately woven tapestry of website design and digital marketing. It's not merely about having a website; it's about crafting an immersive digital experience that captivates audiences and drives business growth. The Art of Business Website Design Your website is...
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10642
by: Hystou | last post by:
Overview: Windows 11 and 10 have less user interface control over operating system update behaviour than previous versions of Windows. In Windows 11 and 10, there is no way to turn off the Windows Update option using the Control Panel or Settings app; it automatically checks for updates and installs any it finds, whether you like it or not. For most users, this new feature is actually very convenient. If you want to control the update process,...
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10288
tracyyun
by: tracyyun | last post by:
Dear forum friends, With the development of smart home technology, a variety of wireless communication protocols have appeared on the market, such as Zigbee, Z-Wave, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, etc. Each protocol has its own unique characteristics and advantages, but as a user who is planning to build a smart home system, I am a bit confused by the choice of these technologies. I'm particularly interested in Zigbee because I've heard it does some...
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7014
by: conductexam | last post by:
I have .net C# application in which I am extracting data from word file and save it in database particularly. To store word all data as it is I am converting the whole word file firstly in HTML and then checking html paragraph one by one. At the time of converting from word file to html my equations which are in the word document file was convert into image. Globals.ThisAddIn.Application.ActiveDocument.Select();...
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5680
by: TSSRALBI | last post by:
Hello I'm a network technician in training and I need your help. I am currently learning how to create and manage the different types of VPNs and I have a question about LAN-to-LAN VPNs. The last exercise I practiced was to create a LAN-to-LAN VPN between two Pfsense firewalls, by using IPSEC protocols. I succeeded, with both firewalls in the same network. But I'm wondering if it's possible to do the same thing, with 2 Pfsense firewalls...
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4481
by: 6302768590 | last post by:
Hai team i want code for transfer the data from one system to another through IP address by using C# our system has to for every 5mins then we have to update the data what the data is updated we have to send another system
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muto222
by: muto222 | last post by:
How can i add a mobile payment intergratation into php mysql website.
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bsmnconsultancy
by: bsmnconsultancy | last post by:
In today's digital era, a well-designed website is crucial for businesses looking to succeed. Whether you're a small business owner or a large corporation in Toronto, having a strong online presence can significantly impact your brand's success. BSMN Consultancy, a leader in Website Development in Toronto offers valuable insights into creating effective websites that not only look great but also perform exceptionally well. In this comprehensive...

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