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Database Design

More than just a briefcase full of data...

Store, access and question your information

A database is, in its simplest form, a system for holding information.

This could be paper-based, such as a telephone directory, held on a server or stored in a computer programme such as Microsoft Excel or Microsoft Access.

A database is an organized collection of data for one or more purposes, usually in digital form.

With databases that are stored electronically, there are two main versions:

  • Server-side – Databases that reside on a server

For example, a website – such as Facebook – will have a database stored on a server. The user will access this database through a web site, which connects to the database and returns the information (data) that is required.

  • Client-side – Databases that reside on your computer

For example, you may keep a record of your finances for the month on an Excel document on your PC. You would only access this from your computer, and would also require the application (Excel) to open the document. If you were to send the document to a user that did not have Excel, they would not be able to read the data.

Both methods have their pros and their cons.

Client-side databases:

  • usually require the user to have the software to read the database installed on their computer
  • tend to be far less secure, as all security measures have to be set on your computer
  • can only be accessed by users that have a connection to your computer

However, they also:

  • tend to be quicker to develop
  • are less expensive (due to development time)

 

With server-side databases, there are also some downsides. They:

  • take longer to develop
  • cost more to develop
  • require additional work to design the security aspects

However, they also:

  • can be accessed by anyone with a connection. In the case of a web-server database, this means that anyone with a web connection can use the database
  • are far more secure, as all security is handled by the server

 

I specialise in client-side databases, built with Microsoft Access.

Additionally, I also create server-side databases for websites, most notably with WordPress and osCommerce installations for online stores.

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