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Web Development Terminology - Database

I am sure a lot of you are familiar with this what a database is, but in the web firm business we come across some who are still unaware of what a database is and what it is good for.

Essentially a database is a place to store data. Common choices for database engines are Mysql, MsSQL, Postgresql and Oracle. A database engine gives you some functionality built around a database and will take care of storing the data in a matter that makes it easily and quickly retreivable later.

To get an understanding of how a database works, you can think of a database as a bunch of excel spreadsheets. Each Table has columns and row, each column represents a field and usually has a name associated with it, each row has the actual data for the instance. Such that you may have something like:

id name email date
1 bob 10/28/08
2 sam 10/27/08
2 sam 10/27/08
3 greg 10/26/08
4 john 10/25/08

This makes for a good visualization of how a database looks. This table above would be good start for an email list. Most common database engines will provide data look ups using a scripting language called SQL.

SQL allows us to query the data in different ways, selecting only rows that match a conditional rule or even to sort the rows by date or id.


11/01/2008 6:38pm
Nice article. Gets right down to the basics. I'd love to see a series on database tips including sql queries (specifically mysql with php) for beginners who want to dig a little deeper. You may go as far as teaching basic connection rules to allow users basics of connecting to a database, then select, insert, update queries (each could be an entire section) and then joins. You could then end with user authentication to teach the basics of protecting the data. I'd be one of your main readers of course.

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