Posted by: ahmedashfaque | February 3, 2016

Relational databases – the power of atomizing & relationships – part 1


We have worked with relational databases but we do not know what the term “relational” means. We also do not know what is the significance of this “relational” thing here. Let us find out.

There are many types of databases being used in the software industry. Some of these types include relational databases, file databases, NoSQL databases, object relational databases etc. Even though there are many differences among these types of databases; nevertheless there is one crucial difference which separates relational databases from all other types of databases. Let us understand it.

You use Microsoft word in your work everyday. A Microsoft word document is a file which stores your data. Microsoft Excel is also used to store your data. The difference between data stored in a Microsoft excel file and a Microsoft word document is that in Microsoft excel file; data is stored in a more structured format compared to data stored in a Microsoft word file. You can do a lot of things with the data stored in a Microsoft excel file. You can summarize, add, sort, pivot etc with your data. This is possible because data stored in a Microsoft excel file allows to store data in a more atomic way. Data stored in each field in a Microsoft excel file is separate from data stored in other fields in the same excel document. This is why it is possible to do many operations on only specific fields in an Microsoft excel file. Any of these operations do not apply to other fields in the same excel file. This is because, data in an Microsoft excel file is stored in atomic form. This is also the reason why it is not possible do such things in a Microsoft word file because data in such files are not stored in atomic form.

Thus we can learn from this example that the first thing required to be a good database is the ability to store data in most atomic way.

We will learn more about relational databases in our next post.

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  1. […] the first part of this series, we saw that atomizing data is powerful. We saw that we can do many things with our […]


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