What is a database

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What is a database? This very short overview shows you what a database is and how it can be embedded in the Web.

Database introduction

A database system (DBS) consists of the database (data) and the database management systems (DBMS).

A database is an organized collection of data. Technically the term database refers to the file or group of files that holds the actual data (as records).

The database management system

The data is accessed by using a program called database management system (DBMS). Almost all DBMSs these days are RDBMSs (relational database management systems), in which data is organized and stored in a set of related tables.

A database management system interacts with the user, with applications and the database.

The database management system is designed to allow the :

  • definition
  • creation
  • querying
  • update
  • administration of a database

Examples of database management systems :

MySQL, Oracle, SAP, dBase, IBM DB2, Libre Office Base, etc.

The MySQL database management system is the de-facto standard for web sites. MySQL is a relational database management system. The MySQL database management system is composed of the MySQL server, of utility programs that assist in the administration of the MySQL databases and some supporting programs that the MySQL server needs.
The heart of this database management system is the MySQL server. The MySQL server is the manager of the database. All the users/applications interaction with the database are accomplished by passing messages to the MySQL server.

A database is generally not portable across different database management systems.
On the other hand, an application can work with different databases if it uses standards/methods such as SQL, ODBC, JDBC.


SQL is the mostly used database (programming) language which can define data, manipulate data and query data. Although SQL is a declarative language, it also includes procedural elements.
SQL consists of a data definition language and a data manipulation language. The scope of SQL includes data insert, query, update and delete, schema creation and modification, and data access control.

PHP and database

PHP is particularly strong in its ability to interact with database management systems.
MySQL is the most popular database management system used with PHP. PHP is communicating with the MySQL server by using SQL.
PHP doesn’t understand SQL. This is not necessary because PHP simply establishes a connection with the MySQL server and then sends the SQL commands to it.

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