Database Basics

 

 

A good database management system lets you organise any type of information into a well-structured body.  Such information can include literally include anything, including:

  • People, like your customers, employees, members, and associated information pertaining to that person such as their name, address, contact details and orders.
  • Projects, like business sales targets, customer surveys, or marketing new products.
  • Assets, like your inventory and current stock levels, or your current finances.
  • Images, like product photos and images, scanned drawings and videos.

Such is the power of databases these days that literally any element that you store on your computer can now be stored in a database.

 

How is database management different to a spreadsheet?

 

Often businesses utilise spreadsheets to keep track of their information.  Spreadsheet data is often confused with database management; they are similar in many ways and concepts, but they differ in a number of critical areas.

 

A spreadsheet is excellent at storing 'dumb' information; that is, numbers and texual information.  It is especially good at 'number crunching',  and if programmed well, can give people the exact results they are after.  But spreadsheets are designed specifically for that one single purpose.  If you require any further analysis from this information, more often than not, you need to create a new macro or process to transform the current data.

 

In short, databases supercede spreadsheets because of the following reasons:

 

Databases can give answers to your questions and problems

 

In a well-structured database, you can ask literal questions to a database and receive a literal answer.  You do not need to program a macro, or transform data; the database management system is able to handle complex queries to give you exactly the answer you seek.  For example, questions such as "How many of my customers are located in Sydney, Australia?", or "Show me my gross profits for the last financial year" are easily handled by a database management system, provided the database has been well-structured.

 

Link Related Data

 

Most databases are also "relational databases"; that is, they are able to relate one set of data to another, provided there is a logical connection.  For example, a customer call "Bob Jones" can be linked to a city called "Sydney".  When you pose the question "Show me my customers located in Sydney, Australia", the database will return you a list of customers that fit that description, including "Bob Jones".

 

Find out more about a relational database

 

View Data in Different Ways

 

Database management systems can easily let you view your data in different ways, including data lists, tables, or visual forms that can be exported into documents and reports.

 

 

Link your database to any computer, or directly to the web

 

With the advent of web databases, you can now display your information from your database realtime to the web.  For example, you can show a customer when his order has been processed, or you can show the GPS location of a truck delivering your parcel.  Likewise, you can easily share this information to other internal departments, or license a subset of your data to other companies.

 

Find out more about web databases

 

 

 

What do I need to know to use a database management system?

If you are new to databases, trying to get started with a database management system can be quite daunting.  That said, today you can find easy database management systems that make it easy to get started, even if you have never worked with databases before. 

 

For almost any business or project, using a database management system helps you spend less time managing details, and more time managing your business.

Web News

Windows 10's 'Sets' feature is gone and not expected to return
Sets, Microsoft's Windows-management feature which allowed users to group data, sites and other information in tabs, is gone and not expected to come back in a future release of Windows 10, my contacts say.
--- 23 Apr 2019 12:20 AM

AT&T store demos pit Magic Leap versus VR in a tech game of thrones
The wireless carrier, which now owns HBO, has shown the power of marrying its popular content with leading-edge entertainment tech.
--- 23 Apr 2019 12:10 AM

Rebuilding the Edge browser: Google's old code, Microsoft's new mission
The browser wars may not be as important as they once were, but Microsoft's adoption of Chromium could help it return from the Edge of irrelevance.
--- 22 Apr 2019 11:51 PM

'I dumped Apple because it's too prima donna,' said the Best Buy salesperson
In my second attempt to see how different retailers suggest you avoid Apple's ecosystem, a Best Buy salesperson offered an eclectic grouping of gadgets. And some deep emotions.
--- 22 Apr 2019 11:49 PM

AM vs FM: The battle brewing in lidar technology
Could 95 percent of self-driving car projects using lidar be heading down the wrong path?
--- 22 Apr 2019 09:00 PM

Company Blog


Search Behaviour

Posted Tuesday, 19 October 2010 at 05:58 by Andrew Liu


As an SEO provider, you have one main goal. Get your clients website to show up in search results fo...

Read more...



sm bus drivers missing in Device Manager

Posted Sunday, 18 April 2010
Updated Sunday, 24 February 2013 at 06:39 by Andrew Liu


When installing a new Windows XPinstallation, I seemingly always miss some drivers. One that trouble...

Read more...



Multiple Domains for SEO performance?

Posted Friday, 05 March 2010 at 23:13 by Andrew Liu


Online businesses and websites that cover a broad range of topics or one large topic are sometimes b...

Read more...



Tag Clouds - SEO or not?

Posted Thursday, 04 March 2010 at 04:34 by Andrew Liu


A tag cloud or word cloud is a visual depiction of tags or words related to a site, typically used t...

Read more...



Mozilla Thunderbird and Gmail IMAP Attachments Bug

Posted Wednesday, 03 March 2010 at 20:15 by Andrew Liu


I've been using Gmail since its early inception, and Iwas one of the first to utilise Gmail's IMAPfe...

Read more...



Read more blogs...