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Databases are the cornerstone of your business

A database is a stucture in which you can store and organise information.  There are various differnt versions but the most common to small businesses is either a flat file database or a relational database.

Flat file databases

A flat file database could possible look like a spreadsheet with all the information being held in one table. There are columns which represent fields and rows which represent records. In some instances this is ok such as for a database of names and addresses but is wrong structure if there is a possibility of repeating data.  Usually when fields are declared in a database they will have an amount of space allocated to that field for each record.  That space could be reserved whether there is any data in that field or not.  This could potentially make a database apprear larger in size although there is no data in it.   Because of this it is important when constructing your database that you are mindful of your field sizes.

Screen shot of flat file database

The database in the image above was the same size with just the ID field filled in as it is full

Creating a Table

As mentioned previously,  a database has tables and these tables are made up of rows( records) and columns (fields).  When you created your database table you define the fields.  Fields will have a name, data type, and size .  They may have a format and other restrictions too such as there can only be one of this value in this table. (unique)

The stucture of a table can usually be changed at a later date if you need different requirements further along.

Click here to find out about relational databases


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