What is a DataBase?
Databases are used by many web based scripts like blog software, forum software, and many other types of scripts. A database is used to store information in a structured format so that it can be used by the script for its intended purpose.
A database is more than just space on a hard disk to provide storage. There is a database manager that is part of the database program. The data in the database is organized and searchable by the database manager. Other programs or scripts can interact with the data through calls to the database manager.
The database software can be installed on any computer. There are database programs for your PC. A local database may be used in conjunction with an accounting application or other analytical programs. There may be a database built into some of the programs that you use.
Many people first come upon the term when setting up a web based application or script. Offering a database or a number of databases is often a feature with a hosting account. If you wish to install a script that uses a database your hosting account needs to have a database available.
The data is generally stored in tables within the database. Multiple scripts can share a database by using a different prefix for their tables. The table name and prefix are often configurable in a config file for the script that your are installing. Having separate databases may be an advantage if you wish to move something like a blog or CMS to another server.
There are many types of databases. The most common database for use with web based applications is the MySQL database. The SQL stands for Structured Query Language. This is the syntax and format of the calls to the database to carry out operations on the data.
Databases may be used to store multimedia files as well as text documents. Images, mp3s, and videos can be stored in the database. With blogging software the individual posts are stored as text documents in the database. The page that a visitor to the blog views is built from the information available in the database.
A database stores information in a structured format that is usable by other programs. The data in the database can be acted upon by other programs to generate reports or to be included in dynamic web pages. The database manager keeps the data indexed and responds to the calls of other programs for specific parts of the data.