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Lesson 8. Databases on the Web > A Crash Course on Databases - Pg. 89

Databases on the Web Lesson08/Complete/newland/index.asp A Crash Course on Databases A tutorial-based book should keep you actively working, so I try to refrain from pausing the action for long- winded passages explaining esoterica. But you will not get very far developing dynamic Web sites if you do not have a solid familiarity (though not necessarily expertise) with databases. In this section, I'll introduce you to basic database concepts and vocabulary, using Microsoft Access. I strongly encourage you to spend additional time learning to work with databases, as you continue to master dynamic Web site development. For now, this section should be enough to get you started. Introducing Database Objects In the simplest terms, a database is a system of storage for data. But in contemporary use, the term database gen- erally means a lot more--certainly in the case of Microsoft Access or an enterprise-level database system, such as Microsoft SQL Server or Oracle. Each of these is a relational database management system (RDBMS). The RDBMS model was developed in the 1970s and 1980s to enable database managers to store data in a way that reflected relationships between different types of data. We'll return to the idea of relationships momentar- ily, but first you should understand the objects that make up databases. Data in a database is stored in tables. At first glance, tables look like Excel spread sheets, in that they are made of rows and columns. The columns, called fields, contain a single category of information. The rows, called records, contain a single set of information comprising one element of data for each field. For example, in a table called tbl_customers, you might expect to find fields for first name, address, city, state, postal code, phone