A popular question is what is a database and in this article we will give you a high level overview of the concept with a few examples.
In the first section I will explain what is a database and what is it used for. This will be brief explanation with high level examples so if you are new to databases don't worry about understanding every bit I say (and remembering new terminology) as I will explain that in more details a bit later in this post and feel free to read it again once you read everything… suddenly things might be much clearer. I will finish this blog post by giving you better understanding of how it all works (Database + everything else)
A database as the name may suggest in the simplest form is a container storing data that people (or devices) can interact with. This container usually stores data in a structured way and it does it by creating objects (entities/tables) that represent real life objects, processes or events for instance Customer, Invoice or Meeting. Objects have properties (attributes/fields/columns) that describe it. For instance Customer object (in our customer customer is a company not an individual person) can be described by its Company Name, address line1, address line2, county, post code, country, main contact, Importance (eg important customer), and so on. Once we have the structure (object + properties) we can store data in it.
Let's take customer object (entity) that contains several attributes (properties) for instance Company name, Address (I will limit number of attributes here). Using this structure we can add new customer with its CompanyName and Address. Each customer is called an "instance" (record) of the object and should be unique and stored only once (no duplications) in the object. A very important aspect of each object is to uniquely identify each row (instance) and this is usually accomplished by creating auto generated ID (meaningless) for instance 1,2,3,4,5 (common approach)… or creating natural key (meaningful) for instance value MS01 can represent company name Microsoft UK.
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I will help digest this very important information by giving you visual representation of what I said. Below I describe customer object (entity). In database real life objects (entities) are called simply tables. So our table is called Customer
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