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DBM Databases

Most UNIX systems have some kind of DBM database; in fact, I have yet to find a system that runs without one. DBM is a set of library routines that manages data files consisting of key and value pairs. The DBM routines control how users enter and retrieve information from the database. Although it is not the most powerful mechanism for storing information, using DBM is a faster method of retrieving information than using a flat file. Because most UNIX sites use one of the DBM libraries, the tools you need to store your information to a DBM database are readily available.

Almost as many flavors of the DBM libraries exist as those of UNIX systems. Although most of these libraries are not compatible with each other, all work basically the same way. This section explores each of the DBM flavors to give you a good understanding of their differences. Afterward, you'll create an address book script, which should give you an idea of how DBM databases work.


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