Understanding How Databases Work
If you’re new to databases, you might find yourself being assaulted with a confusing variety of new terms. You’ll hear about Access, MySQL, PHP and more. However, you might not know what these things really mean. If you’re wondering about the jargon you’ve heard and read, or you want to know what databases really do, this article is for you. Here’s some basic information that’ll tell you more about them and help you decide whether your website is a good candidate for a database.
There are a number of different applications you might want to use a website database for. One of the most common is a shopping cart. Web shopping carts often use databases for information storage. When customers place orders, the information provided, like payment information, order details, and addresses, is transmitted and stored in the database that’s part of your site. It can be retrieved later when it’s useful.
Another place you might need to use a database is a product catalog. Databases make adding new products to your site’s shopping cart much easier. Just put all the items and their important information in an office-type database program or a spreadsheet program, then upload the information to the database on your site. Once this information has been added, the new products will display automatically, as long as your initial formatting was correct.
At its most basic, a database on a website acts a lot like a database on a computer. It’s a place where data is stored and organized. When the information is needed by an application, the database transmits it appropriately. If, for instance, you were using a database in conjunction with a shopping cart on your site, and you needed to do an order search, a database would help. Just enter the database and query the order number. It will then be displayed, with all relevant information included.
Applications that make use of a database to create a members-only area work this way: users enter the password and login name. Once that information has been entered, the application takes it and makes a comparison to the information that’s in the database.
The user is only allowed to log in if the entries in the database match the entries they put into the form. When there’s not a match, the database will tell the person that their user name and password haven’t been found, and ask them to try again.
If it’s a product catalog that’s using the database, the catalog application will be programmed to include a number of different parameters. These will include things like weight, color, size, shape, and other details about your products that are relevant.
When you create the database, these fields will be matched up. Then, they can be used to enter all the appropriate information for every one of your products. After you’ve transmitted this information to the database on your website, the application searches the information and displays the needed data when the catalog page for an item is viewed.
What about those unusual terms? What do they mean? Knowing about them can help you make important choices. SQL, for instance, is the major type of web database. It stands for Structured Query Language, and is the favorite method of database management.
Things like MySQL and others are extension that add procedural programming functionality to this language. Microsoft Access is a part of Microsoft Office, and acts as a database management system. PHP is a scripting language that draws on databases and is used to create dynamic webpages.
It’s clear that a database is a helpful addition to just about any e-commerce site, and to many other kinds of websites, too. If your site needs to store and transmit information, odds are that including a website database is the best bet. Don’t let yourself be confused – find out more about databases and how they can help you and your site.