A database is a data structure that stores organized information. Most of the databases contain multiple tables, which may each include various different fields. For instance, a company database may include tables for products, employees, and financial records. Each table would have different fields that are relevant to the information stored in the table.

Closely all e-commerce sites use databases to store product inventory and customer information. These sites utilizes a database management system (or DBMS), such as Microsoft Access, FileMaker Pro, or My-SQL like the "back end" to the website. By storing website data in database, the data can be searched, sorted, and updated simply. This flexibility is significant for e-commerce sites and other types of dynamic websites.

Early databases were relatively "flat," that means they were restricted to simple rows and columns, like a spreadsheet. Though, today's relational databases permit users to update access and search information based on the relationship of data stored in distinct tables. Relational databases can also run queries that include multiple databases. Whereas early databases could only store text or numeric data, modern databases also allow users store other data types like pictures, sound clips, and videos.

Types of database:

There are two main kinds of database; flat-file and relational.


The flat-file style of database are ideal for little amounts of data that needs to be human readable or edited by hand. In essence all they are made up of is a set of strings in one or more files that can be parsed to obtain the information they store; great for storing simple lists and data values, but can obtain complicated when you try to replicate more complicated data structures. That's not to say that it is not possible to store complicated data in a flat-file database; just that doing so can be more expensive in time and processing power compared to a relational database. The methods utilized for storing the more complicated data types, are also likely to render the file unreadable and un-editable to anyone looking after the database.

The typical flat-file database is split up by using a common delimiter. If the data is simple enough, it could be a comma, but more complicated strings are usually split up by using tabs, new lines or a combination of characters not likely to be found in the record itself.


The relational databases as like Microsoft SQL Server, My-SQL, and Oracle, have a much more logical structure in the way that it stores data. Tables can be utilized to represent real world objects, with each of field acting like an attribute. For instance, a table called books could have the columns title, author and ISBN, which defined the details of each book where each row in the table is a new book.

The "relation" comes from the fact that the tables can be associated to each other, for instance the author of a book could be cross-referenced with the authors table (supposing there was one) to provide more information regarding the author. These kinds of relations can be quite complicated in nature, and would be hard to replicate in the standard flat-file format.

One main advantage of the relational model is that, if a database is efficiently designed, there should be no duplication of any data; helping to maintain database integrity. It can also represent a huge saving in file size, which is significant when dealing with large volumes of data. Having said that, combing large tables to each other to get the data required for a query can be quite heavy on the processor; so in some cases, particularly while data is read only; it can be beneficial to have some duplicate data in a relational database.

Relational databases also have functions "built in" that help them to retrieve, sort and edit the data in various different ways. These functions save script designers through having to worry regarding filtering out the results that they get, and so can go fairly some method to speeding up the development and production of web applications.

Database Management (DBM):

The Database Management Layer permits script programmers to store information as a pair of strings; a key, which is utilized to find the associated value. In essence, a DBM adds more functionality and better sortation during storage to the binary flat-files that it uses. There are various versions of DBMs available; however the most popular is the Berkley Database Manager; also called as the Berkley DB.

The Berkley DB is an improvement over normal flat-files, as it provides a method for programmers to use the database without having to worry regarding how the data is stored or how to retrieve the values. Retrieval of data by using the Berkley DB is frequently much faster than from a flat-file, having the time savings being made by storing data in a way that speeds up the locating of a specific key-value pair.

Creating, editing and deleting data while using the Berkley DB is actually quite simple; once the database has been tied to the script you only use and manipulate the variables such as normal. The problem of file locking that plagues flat-file databases is till apparent while using DBM, so you should still take care when planning scripts that utilize it.

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