Database glossary

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Application Program Interface -- An interface system supported by a specific vendor. It can be faster, but it locks you into the vendor's products.

Common Gateway Interface -- A universal format for processing responses from Web sites and delivering dynamic Web pages to browsers, implemented in some way by all Web servers.

Java -- A programming language from Sun Microsystems, developed to provide traditional application functionality to the Web platform.

JavaScript -- Originally called LiveWire, an event-driven language for manipulating a Web document from a browser without interacting with a server.

Middleware -- Software that connects a Web site to a database, called this because it sits between an application and a network.

Open DataBase Connectivity (ODBC) -- A standard for database access approved in 1992.

Structured Query Language (SQL) -- A computer language for working with relational databases, implemented slightly differently by various database vendors.

VBScript -- A Microsoft response to LiveWire, based on Microsoft's Visual Basic.

Types of databases

Flat file -- The most basic form of database, in which all information is stored in a single table.

Relational -- The most common format today, it eliminates duplication of data by storing each element in a different database table.

Object-oriented -- The newest database type, in which each component of data comes with specific properties, making the design especially useful for multimedia data.

Source: Choosing a Database for Your Web Site, by John Paul Ashenfelter (John Wiley & Sons, New York, 1999)

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