back to categories

What is a database?


" ... A database is a collection of records stored in a computer in a systematic way, such that a computer program can consult it to answer questions. For better retrieval and sorting, each record is usually organized as a set of data elements (facts). The items retrieved in answer to queries become information that can be used to make decisions. The computer program used to manage and query a database is known as a database management system (DBMS). ... "

The data base management system Pixelloom usually uses is called MySQL, available under an open-source license.

What is a database good for?

A database stored on the server (web host) and tied to web forms, allows anyone with the appropriate permission to add/edit or delete records in the database. So if you own an online store with an ever-changing inventory, you could add new products and delete old ones using a web browser, without any contact with your web site developer.

When the entire web site content (not just the products, say) is under the control of a database, called a content management system, you are free to make changes to all aspects of the site yourself.

When the functionality provided by the system exceeds simple database update screens, we call the system a web application. All of these database systems could probably be called web applications, but we reserve the term for more extensive systems.

Useful applications for a database include:

  • product databases
  • membership directories
  • event registration systems