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Introductory Database Theory: Systems And Design

Before you can begin to design a database you must understand the underlying concepts and theories of why databases are used and how they are created. In this article, Steve gives us a great explanation of what a database is, the relational database model, metadata and indexes, the database management system and structured query language.

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By: Steve Adcock
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January 19, 2002
  1. · Introductory Database Theory: Systems And Design
  2. · What is a database?
  3. · The relational model
  4. · Metadata and indexes
  5. · The DBMS and SQL
  6. · Conclusion

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Introductory Database Theory: Systems And Design - The DBMS and SQL
(Page 5 of 6 )

The Database Management System is the lifeblood of any database. From the 1960's, DBMS's were continually evolved to support quicker and more powerful entities. Here is a look at the three main parts of Database Management Systems:
  • Run-Time system: The run-time system processes the application's components, like reports or forms, for the user when they are requested. The run-time environment does not work with queries, only the application's components.
  • Designing tools: Designing tools are used to actually design how the reports and forms will appear to the user. They should be designed intuitively and effectively to promote the ease of use of the database system.
  • The system motor: The system motor lies between the run-time system and the design tools to translate queries into a language that the database system can read, and also into commands that the database can use to save and modify information written to the system's metadata.
Each of these components exist in many different forms are varieties. Microsoft Access has these components grouped as one, while MySQL relies on some third-party design tools (such as PHPMyAdmin) to work with the database.

SQL (Structured Query Language)

A discussion of databases would not be truly complete without touching on SQL, the database language of choice for many relational database systems including MySQL, Microsoft SQL Server, Oracle, DB2, INGRES and SYBASE, among others. Usually pronounced as see-kwel, SQL was first conceived at IBM's laboratories in the early 1970's, where it was named sequel, not SQL. Only in the 1980s was the language renamed to SQL, an acronym for its complete name, Structured Query Language.

The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) now maintains the language and periodically releases language updates. For a complete look at the SQL language syntax including examples and descriptions for many of SQL's most used commands, click here.
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