Database ConceptsDatabase is the media to store data. If you have an application that has to store and retrieve data, your application must be using a database.
A File is the simplest form of saving the data in the disk, but is not the most efficient way of managing application data. A database is basically a collection of one or more files, but in a custom format, and data is organized in a specific format such a way that it can be retrieved and stored very efficiently.
Some examples for databases are :
- MS Access
- SQL Server
MS Access is a very light weight database provided by Microsoft for applications with less number of users and relatively small quantity of data. MS Access saves data into database files with the extension .mdb. Usually, MS Access comes along with MS Office package. If you already have the .mdb database file, you can freely use it with your application and you do not need MS Access software. The MS Access software is required only if you want to directly open the database and manipulate the data or change the database schema.
SQL Server (Microsoft product) and Oracle (Oracle Corp.) are more complex, advanced, relational databases and they are much more expensive. It can support large number of users and very high quantity of data. If you are developing a software, which might be accessed simultaneously by 100s of users or if you expect your data may grow 100s of MBs, you might consider one of these. (We are learning Microsoft .NET.. so you might want to consider the SQL Server than Oracle, for which Microsoft provides special data access components!!)
In this tutorial, we will be using only MS Access for simplicity. Most of the samples provided in this site uses MS Access database for simplicity and easy download.