Basic Database Terminology

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Just a bit of theory the may be helpful - Some Definitions[edit]


These encode data in a structured and efficiently searchable format. It also easily select subsets of data and can sort those results. There are lots of different kinds, but one fairly standard one is a SQL or relational database.

Database File[edit]

The file ( or one of the files ) where database information is kept. We are using sqllite, which keeps a whole database in one file. This makes it very easy to move and/or backup a database.

Table, Record, Column[edit]

in a SQL data base data is stored in Tables ( many tables may be put in one database ). A table consists of records ( also called rows. ) Each row is information about some "thing". For example if the "thing" is a person a record might contain the person's first name, last name, date of birth.... The table is much like a spread sheet with the information on each person in a row. Each of the items ( first name, last name, date of birth.... ) is called a column.

SQL - Structured Query Language[edit]

This is the language used by relational databases. Typically the system generated the required SQL and runs it. The user interface often shows the SQL which is quite a bit easier to read than it is to write. It may give you useful feedback on what the system is doing.

Text File[edit]

Not really a data base even if it contains data. All files are codes for some data. A text file ( often a .txt extension ) is one of the simpler encodings: each byte in the file codes some text character, a letter in the alphabet, a number, a "newline" character. normally the file is more or less readable by a human being. Simple programs ( in windows perhaps notepad ) let you read/create/modify text files. ( Note: most word processors will easily read text files but they tend to s...... )

Text Editor[edit]

A program to create and edit text file. I have used Notepad++ on Windows. Good text editors have a lot of powerful features for the text including search and replace features. You can do substantial data manipulation and management just in your text editor and use it in conjunction with the database program.

In fact the text editor you select becomes much of the interface into your data. Data is input through text file, the system can prepare blank input files. Output is often in text file form. Complicated selects may be specified in a text file. Records to be edited will be prepared for edit as a text file, and after you edit the file, the changed data will be placed back into the database. Custom database products use expensively programmed "windows" for database interactions. This system uses automatically programmed text files for database interactions. Not as fancy, but no expensive programming talent is required.

Geany is another good text editor that I would consider it runs on Windows, Linux, and Mac. I am sure there are many other good ones. If you have a strong preference try it out.