Technology Defined Part 1: Databases
The technology used today is confusing and complex to those who haven’t familiarized themselves with it. Due to this, many things that are technology-related tend to be place under the same category when there is, in fact, many differences between them.
Because we are technology gurus here at Digital Trike, who better to teach you about these difference than us? Four types of technology that all may seem the same for some are databases, frameworks, languages and third party solutions. In this blog post, you will learn about the basics of databases. We will go over the other three in future blog posts.
What is a Database?
A database is a systematic collection of data. They support storage and manipulation of data. Databases make data management easy. For example, Facebook needs to store, manipulate and present data related to members, their friends, member activities, advertisements and a lot more.
Database Management Systems
A database management system (DBMS) is a collection of programs which enables its users to access specific databases in order to manipulate data. It also helps to control access each databases.
Database management systems are not a new concept. In fact, they were first implemented back in the 60’s. Charles Bachman’s Integrated Data Store (IDS) is said to be the first DBMS in history. With time, database technologies have evolved greatly while usage and expected functionalities of databases have been increased dramatically.
Types of DMBS
Lets take a look how DBMS have improved over time. This diagram shows the evolution of DBMS. As you can see, there are four different types of DMBS. It’s important to not there is a broad range of DMBS, but these are the most commonly recognized. We’ll go into a little more detail with each one.
Hierarchical – this type of DBMS employs the “parent-child” relationship of storing data. It’s rarely used today. Its structure is like a tree with nodes representing records and branches representing fields. The windows registry used in Windows XP is an example of a hierarchical database. Configuration settings are stored as tree structures with nodes.
Network – this DBMS supports many-to-many relations. This usually results in complex database structures. RDM Server is an example of a DBMS that implements the network model.
Relational – this type of DBMS defines database relationships in form of tables, also known as relations. Unlike network DBMS, these does not support many-to-many relationships. Relational DBMS usually have pre-defined data types which they support. This is currently the most popular DBMS type in the market. Examples of relational database management systems include MySQL, Oracle and Microsoft SQL Server. We use SQLs at Digital Trike, so we will go into more detail about them below.
Object Oriented Relational – this type supports storage of new data types. The data to be stored is in the form of objects. The objects to be stored in the database have attributes (i.e. gender, ager) and methods that define what to do with the data. PostgreSQL is an example of an object oriented relational DBMS.
Structured Query language (SQL) pronounced as “S-Q-L” or sometimes as “See-Quel” is actually the standard language for dealing with relational databases. SQL can be effectively used to insert, search, update and delete database records. It can also do lots of things including optimizing and maintenance of databases. Relational databases like MySQL, Oracle, Microsoft SQL Server, Sybase all use SQL. SQL syntaxes used in these databases are very similar. The only difference is some are using different syntaxes and even proprietary SQL syntaxes.
At Digital Trike, we use databases to aid us in building the perfect product for you. We mainly deal with relational databases, but also use object orientation relational depending on the situation. We deal with this complicated stuff so you don’t have to!
We hope you now have a better understanding of the basics when it comes to databases. Stay tuned for parts two (frameworks), three (languages) and four (third party solutions) in upcoming blog posts.