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Frequently Asked Questions

Pre-License Questions

How Much Do Your Scripts Cost?

Please see here

We also have a Full Service option and we handle all the technical details for a fixed rate.

Do All Files Realated to the Script Reside on My Server?
If you select to download the script (rather than have us host it for free), then all files necessary for the operation of the script will be located on your server. The script will not rely on any of the resources located on any of our servers.
What Software is Required to Run Your Scripts?
Your web server must be running Perl 5.0 or greater in order to use this software and you must have access to Perl on your server.
Do Your Scripts Run on an NT Server?
If you have an NT web server that is properly running the ActiveState version of Perl, then our scripts will run. Consult your server documentation carefully and ask your server administrator. The rate of problems is much higher on NT servers than on Unix type servers.
How Can I Check to See if My Server has Perl and if I Have Access to It?
Chances are that if you have a Unix type server and it is commercially hosted, then you will have access to Perl on the server. You should consult your server documentation and/or contact your server administrator and ask him or her if Perl 5.0 or greater is running on the server and if you are able to run scripts in your web space.
My Current Web Hosting Company Stinks. Who Would You Suggest I Switch To?
One of the best decisions that you can make in reference to CGI is selecting a large and professional web hosting company that will allocate liberal resources and runs top of the line servers. We highly recommend Communitech. We have a series of virtual servers and dedicated server accounts with them and they are the best low-cost service that we am aware of.
How Do Your Scripts Know How Far Things are Away From Each Other?
Your script will work with dozens of text files (one for each state and US territory) that contains the location of every Zip code in the United States.  These files can be updated in a matter of minutes every year or so (or more often) to stay current with USPS changes.
How Accurate is Your Location Information?
Every Zip code is associated with only one location and that location is the approximate mathematical center of the Zip code. The advantage of assigning all locations in a Zip code to the same location is that you are able to run the script off of your server because the data files consume just a little over 1 MB of disk space. Services that offer street level mapping require very expensive software and many hundreds of megabytes of disk space... they pretty much require a dedicated server just to run them. Having said that, the FLATTEXT data has been exhaustively checked and rechecked for accuracy to ensure that your search results always contains the closest group of matches, even if it can't tell you that one location is 1000 yards closer to you than another location.
How Many Records Can Your Script Handle?
Please see the Technical Information page for a detailed explanation of server resources and flat text files.
Can Your Scripts Search My MS Access Database?
No. Our scripts work exclusively with text delimited files. However Access, Excel, and virtually all other spreadsheets and database programs will export in tab, pipe, or comma delimited format, which our scripts can work with.
I Have my Locations in an Excel Spreadsheet. What Do I Do Now?
If you already have your data organized in spreadsheet format, then you're 95% of the way there already. Just save the file as a tab delimited text (in Excel, this is Save As -> Text and Tabs) and paste a sample of this data into the form on the second page of the script creation engine (you will need to select to build a script around existing data).
Do Your Scripts Work with Non-US Locations?
Yes, but mostly No. All Zip code features are based on a map projection that is 6000 units wide and 3700 units deep. When you create a clickable map, you are creating a scaled down version of the same map projection that the script operates at. We simply do not have location data for Canada, Mexico, or any locations outside of the states and territories of the United States. Having said that, most of our customers only have a small percentage of their dealers outside of the United States and it is easy to support searches on things other than the postal code for areas outside the United States. See the technical information page under the heading Range Limitations. You are able to create a Zip code locator that can search on a variety of fields in your database, so users can still use non-postal code search fields to find locations outside of the US.
I Have Never Installed a Script Before. How Easy is the Process?
Our claim to fame at FLATTEXT is producing the best scripts with the best documentation that can be installed in the least amount of time. Unlike most other scripts with the complexity and capabilities of FLATTEXT, there is always only one script to install, not six or eight. Likewise, our scripts contain some of the most verbose documentation inside the script itself that you will find anywhere. Your script may run 1/1000 of a second slower because of all the documentation, but each and every step of the script is documented. Every script comes with a custom installation page written specifically for your script that tells you how it works, how to invoke it, and how to install and modify it. Each script comes with search snippets that require no modification other than being pointed toward your script. Likewise, page formatting for your search results page is done in a regular HTML page called a template. The script opens this file and inserts your search results into it. This saves you from having to do modifications to the script itself in order to have the output of the script match the style of your web site.

The great majority of FLATTEXT users (even those who have never installed a script before) are able to get it running with absolutely no trouble. If you do have trouble, we offer quick, free, and secure installation troubleshooting at our Install Service where we connect to your server to investigate the problem. If you continue to have trouble, we can automatically host your script for you on our dedicated Hosting Server. Unlimited phone and e-mail support as it relates to installation is free to all FLATTEXT licensed users.

How Do I Call You or Get in Touch With You?
We look forward to hearing from you. Please see our contact page.

(c) FLATTEXT Database Scripts 1997-2001