What is a "relational database"?

A relational database stores information in collections of tables. All the relationships are defined between tables, for using cross-references. This procedure for organizing data is easy for users to understand.

History

Databases, in general, have been used by computers since the beginning. DBMS or Database Management Systems are thought to have been present since the 1960s but relational database systems weren’t present until the 1970s when a lack of a search capability created a need for them. The man credited with creating it, Codd, published a theory in 1970 which established that data be stored in tables and then relationships would be between tables of data.

Strengths and Weaknesses

Strengths

  • Powerful
  • Very efficient and Accurate

Weaknesses

  • Poor User Interface/Experience
  • Poor Scaling

General Uses and Future Predictions

Larger corporations and institutions which must manage huge amounts of data are who use relational database management systems, via software from vendors like Oracle, Sybase, IBM, and Microsoft.

Some have been predicting the death of this system, due to the weaknesses listed above and also the introduction of free tools, like Amazon web services. It will not be abandoned anytime soon, but may be phased out over the next 3-5 years.

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What is SQL?

SQL or Structured Query Language is pronounced as either the letters, SQL, or the word, sequel. SQL is a standards supported query method for requesting information from a database. Historically, it has been the preferred or favorite language. It can be run on everything from a mini computer to a mainframe. It supports a distributed database.

How is a relational database used in modern web development?

there are several uses for RDMS in modern web development, including:

  • Create
  • Read
  • Update
  • Delete
  • Object storage
  • Implementing behavior within the database
  • Concurrency control
  • Transaction control
  • Enforcing referential integrity

Types of Relational Database Management Systems:

  • MySQL
  • Oracle
  • Microsoft SQL Server

MySQL

history

Created in the mid-1970s as one of the first commercial languages for databases, it does not follow the relational database model, but it became the most popular and widely used. It became a standard from ANSI in 1986 and for ISO in 1987.

strengths and weaknesses

Strengths

  • Displaying data
  • Updating and Saving Data

Weaknesses

  • Inserting Data
  • Deleting Data

describe how and who typically uses them today

SQL databases are best for multi-user applications who need better database management. This is good for web shops and designers who need to manage their clients, but the clients can use another system.

what does the future hold for them?

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Oracle

history

It is an object-related database management system. Developed in the late 1970’s it wasn’t the first RDMS, but they were the first to commercialize the technology and forever changed the landscape of business computing. The company aims to demonstrate that it can build on its foundation of its innovations and it’s knowledge and successes, analyzed by the best business and technical minds around.

strengths and weaknesses

Strengths

  • Multi User
  • Accessible by other Applications

Weaknesses

  • Expensive
  • Scalability

describe how and who typically uses them today

Industries which use Oracle databases are in the communications, financial services, healthcare, advanced technologies, and insurance fields are using oracle database solutions to organize their massive amounts of data, on tables related to other tables.

what does the future hold for them?

Reports indicate they will focus on Exadata, which consolidates storage, servers, networking, and software. They will also focus on the Exalogic Elastic Compute Cloud. If they stay true to their foci on using their foundation to combine new knowledge and successes, they will continue to innovate and iterate to advance the RDMS model.

Microsoft SQL Server

history

Developed in the late 1980s, it was released for windows in 1993. The current version is 11.0, released in 2012. It is available in mainstream editions of: Datacenter, Enterprise, Standard, Web, Workgroup, and Express. There are also specialized editions of: Azure, Compact, Developer, Embedded, Evaluation, Fast Track, and Parallel Database Warehouse. Major moments were in 2005, 2008, and 2012 with the introduction of new Servers.

strengths and weaknesses

Strengths

  • Access Control
  • Database Capabilities

Weaknesses

  • Only for Windows
  • No Hash Partitioning or Indexes

describe how and who typically uses them today

These are used by a variety of businesses who have needs for business intelligence, data warehousing, cloud computing, mission-critical operations, database management, and application development.

what does the future hold for them?

Reports indicate the next steps for SQL are supporting Open Database Connectivity. They will also include a 7 year phase out of other feature, OLE DB. They will also continue to focus on cloud based technologies.

Read More about Microsoft SQL Server