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The Role of Database in Web Application Development

Data is very important in Web App Development. With the help of a database, you can store data safely and can access the data that is stored in the database.

21 min read

Database plays a critical role in web app development. It is one of the most important aspects of building an application. It is necessary that you have a piece of good knowledge of databases before using them in your application. Database design plays a key role in the operation of your website and provides you with information regarding transactions, data integrity, and security issues. In this article, you will learn the role of databases in web application development. You will also learn about the most popular web app databases and how to connect databases to the web applications.

In the early days of computing, databases were synonymous with files on disk. The term is still commonly used this way for example when people refer to their hard drive as their "main database".

Data is the foundation of a web application. It is used to store user information, session data, and other application data. The database is the central repository for all of this data. Web applications use a variety of databases to store data such as flat files, relational databases, object-relational databases, and NoSQL databases. Each type of database has its own advantages and disadvantages when it comes to storing and retrieving data.

A database is a collection of data and information that is stored in an organized manner for easy retrieval. The primary purpose of a database is to store, retrieve, and update information. A database can be used to store data related to any aspect of business operations.

Databases can be very large, containing millions of records, or very small, containing just a few records or even a single record. They may be stored on hard disks or other media, or they may exist only in memory. In the early days of computing, databases were stored on tape drives or punch cards. Today they're stored on hard drives, flash memory cards, and other media.

Databases are designed to ensure that the data they contain is organized and easily retrievable. A database management system (DBMS) is the software used to create and maintain a database.

Role of Database in Web Application

Web application development agency, developers, and designers use databases to store and organize the data that their applications need. The role of databases in web application development has increased over time. As a result, a number of developers create applications that use databases. You can't fully understand web application development without understanding the role of databases. A database is nothing but an organized collection of data that helps us, whether creating or modifying any program. Some examples of this kind of organization are the bookshelf, the NAS storage, and even databases on your desktop computers!

The role of databases in a web application is very important. The web application interacts with the database to store data and retrieve data from it. The database is used to store all the information that the user needs to store. For example, if you are developing a shopping cart website then it will contain product details, customer details, order details, etc. In this case, you need to store this information in a database so that we can use them later on.

Why Do Web App Developers Need a Database?

The first thing one should know when it comes to databases is the need. There are huge numbers of businesses out there, whose revenue depends on the success and future of their database. You see, a database is extremely important for online companies and businesses as well. These days databases are used for various purposes like managing financial records, setting up customer profiles, keeping inventory and ordering information, etc. But what does all this mean?

Most modern web applications are based on a database. The database stores information about the users, products, orders, and more. A database is an important component of any web application because it provides a central location for storing user information and business logic. In addition to this, it allows you to store complex data structures with minimal effort.

Databases are used by businesses to collect and store customer information, financial records, and inventory data. They're also used in research projects to store information about experiments or tests. For example, if you were conducting a survey on the habits of people who eat cereal for breakfast, you might use a database to keep track of your results.

Databases are also used by government agencies to store public records like birth certificates and marriage licenses. Databases are also used by medical researchers who need to record the medical history of patients in order to determine how effective certain treatments may be for different diseases or conditions.

Web Application Databases Offer Benefits

Web applications are becoming more and more popular because they allow users to access information from different devices at the same time. A web application database offers benefits such as:

Security

A web application database provides security features such as encryption and password protection. If a user’s password becomes lost or compromised, it will not be possible for someone else to access the information stored in the database.

Accessibility

Users can access their data from any internet-enabled device, which includes smartphones and tablets as well as laptops and desktops. This means that users do not have to worry about losing their valuable data because it is stored on another device.

Reliability and scalability

Web applications are usually accessed by many users simultaneously, unlike traditional desktop applications that are accessed by one person at a time, so web apps need to be able to handle more requests simultaneously than their desktop counterparts. Web application databases use distributed architecture (multiple servers) to scale up quickly when demand increases, so they can handle large numbers of simultaneous requests without slowing down or crashing.

Ease of maintenance for IT staff

Because web application databases use distributed architecture, problems can be isolated and fixed quickly, which reduces downtime for the end user and reduces costs for IT staffs responsible for maintaining the system. Also, with database automation tools we can make database tasks easier and safer.

Types of Databases in Web Application

A database is a collection of records, each of which is similar to other records in the same database. There are two types of databases: relational and non-relational. Relational databases are built on the principles of tabular data, which means there has to be a one-to-one relationship between the columns and rows in the table. A non-Relational Database is also known as NoSQL Database.

Relational

A database is a large collection of structured data, which can be accessed to find specific information. Relational databases are famous for their structure and have been used by programmers for years.

A relational database is data storage that maintains a relationship between two or more entities. It is used whenever you want to store information in a way that it can be retrieved by your application. In general, we can say that a relational database is a data storage structure where each tuple on its own occupies one record and consists of values of attributes.

There are many advantages of using relational databases over other databases. Apart from this, there are also some disadvantages associated with using these databases which need careful consideration before employing them for storing your data.

Advantages

The main advantages of relational databases include:

  • Data integrity. A correctly implemented relational database ensures that all data entered remains accurate, complete, and consistent over time. This helps ensure that all users have access to the most up-to-date data possible at any given moment without having to worry about whether it will still be there when they need it later on down the line.
  • They're easy to use. Relational databases are designed to be easy to understand and use. The relationships between all the tables and data elements are clearly defined, making it easy to understand how they work together. This makes it easier for people with little or no database experience to understand how to use them without having to learn an entirely new language.
  • Scalability. Relational databases scale easily from small applications up to large enterprise systems. You can add more disk space and memory resources when needed without taking down your application or disrupting end users. This makes relational databases ideal for large-scale applications, such as data warehouses or customer relationship management systems.
  • High availability and disaster recovery capabilities. Relational databases provide automated backup capabilities that allow you to recover quickly from hardware failures or other disasters without requiring human intervention or manual restoration procedures. This makes relational databases ideal for mission-critical applications where downtime is not an option.
Disadvantages
  • Not suitable for real-time data analysis. Relational databases can't be used for real-time data analysis because they don't store the data in such a way that it can be queried quickly. This means that if you want to analyze your data in real-time, you need a technology other than Relational databases. A good example is NoSQL which is more suitable for real-time analysis because it stores data in a different manner than relational databases do.
  • The inability to store documents or graphs in their native format. This means that you need to transform your data into tabular format before storing it. This can be very inconvenient if you want to query your data in a different way than what is supported by the database engine itself (for example, by using SQL or Structured Query Language).
  • Not very good at storing sparse data (i.e., large empty spaces). For example, if you want to store all email addresses from your customers and only non-empty addresses are stored, then this will take up a lot of space compared to storing every single email address even if it's empty (the latter would take less space).
  • Relational databases have a fixed schema. You cannot change the structure of the database during its lifetime, this is called fixed schema. This can limit your ability to add new features or change existing ones. For example, if you want to add a new column for an existing table in a relational database, you will have to re-write all queries that use this table and also update all other tables that reference this table. This can be time-consuming and error-prone.

Non-Relational

Non-relational databases (sometimes called object-oriented databases) are very different from Relational databases. The term non-relational (or NoSQL) database describes any kind of database in which there is no strict distinction between relations, rows, and columns. The term non-relational comes from the fact that the objects stored within the databases are not based on relationships (also called joins), but rather are based on an implicit, often unstructured structure. Non-relational databases exist mainly to help solve problems relating to responsiveness, scalability, and performance.

Non-relational databases (or NoSQL) is a class of database management systems that were designed to be more flexible than a relational database. The main reason is that they are disconnected from the original data structure and don't use the traditional relationships between tables in database design which makes them easier to organize, manage, and access.

Advantages
  • Speed. The most obvious advantage of non-relational databases is that they can be extremely fast. Non-relational databases can do things that would take too long in a relational database, such as searching every record or even all records on disk, without having to query the database first.
  • Simplicity. Non-relational databases are generally easier to understand and use than relational ones, making them ideal for smaller projects where there aren't many users or developers working with the data at any given time. NoSQL databases might not be ideal for complex projects.
  • Scalability. Because they are not constrained by the schema, non-relational databases can scale more easily than relational databases. You can add more hardware and therefore more nodes, which increases the overall performance of the system. This is particularly useful when you need to perform complex computations on large amounts of data.
  • Data can be stored in any format necessary for the application. For example, if your application requires XML documents, then you can store them in an XML column instead of forcing them into a table schema.
  • The processing time for queries is faster in some cases because there is no need to traverse through multiple tables or join across multiple databases like with relational databases.
Disadvantages
  • No standardization. Each vendor has its own APIs and features, making it challenging to implement cross-platform applications.
  • Some non-relational databases (especially those used for big data) have problems dealing with large amounts of data at once because they don't have good query optimization algorithms built into them as relational databases do.
  • A non-relational database doesn't have a fixed structure like a relational database, so you'll need to write code that can handle the unexpected — for example, you might have to write code that handles different field lengths depending on what kind of data is being stored. This can make it harder to maintain your application, especially if it's being used by other people who aren't aware of these differences.
  • The biggest disadvantage of non-relational databases is that they don't support ACID transactions. In other words, to update data in a non-relational database, you need to perform multiple queries and then combine them together. The other problem is that these databases are not compatible with each other, so it's difficult to integrate them into a single system.

Graph Databases (NoSQL)

Graph databases are a relatively new type of database that is able to store and query complex relationships between entities. Graph databases have been around for many years, but have recently become popular as large-scale applications like Facebook and LinkedIn have adopted them.

Graph-based database management systems provide a way to model relationships between objects as nodes connected by edges (lines). Graphs can be used to represent complex relationships among people, places, and things in your world such as connections between people on social media sites like Facebook.

Advantages
  • Easy to model real-world situations: The structure of a graph database allows you to model any type of relationship that exists in your real-world business problem — not just the ones that fit into a traditional table. This makes them ideal for applications such as social networks or recommendation engines. Graphs are also great for representing complex data structures such as trees, hierarchies, and link graphs.
  • Efficient for traversing linked data: Graphs are particularly useful for traversing linked data because they allow you to follow links between objects as easily as searching within an object. You can easily find all records related to a particular item or set of items by following related links between those records.
  • Graph databases also allow you to query data on both nodes and edges at the same time, so they're great for analyzing relationships between entities no matter how deep those relationships may go!
Disadvantages
  • Performance. Graphs are not known for their fast performance. They do not perform well when there are multiple levels of nesting or loops in the graph structure. This means that they can be slow when dealing with large amounts of data or graphs with high-degree vertices (vertices connected to many other vertices).
  • Scalability. Graphs are not scalable in an easy way like tables are in relational databases. Because graphs are implemented as networks and each vertex can have multiple edges linking it to other vertices, adding more vertices and edges to a graph makes it more difficult to manage efficiently. This is especially true when each vertex has a large number of edges linking it to other vertices in the database.
  • They are relatively new. Many organizations have already invested heavily in relational or document-oriented databases and may not want to throw away all that investment. In addition, some organizations may not need the power of a graph database because their data can be modeled using other types of databases.

Many different types of databases exist, with different features and capabilities. Some databases are relational (or SQL-based), while others are non-relational (NoSQL). These are the best databases for web applications. Depending upon your needs choose a right database to build your software appplications.

MySQL (Relational)

MySQL is a relational database management system (RDBMS) based on SQL. It is a popular database server, and a multi-user, multi-threaded SQL database. MySQL is developed by Oracle Corporation. The name "MySQL" is a play on the name of co-founder Michael Widenius's earlier project, Monty Python's Flying Circus. It is written in C and C++ programming languages, with some elements written in Java. It has been licensed under GPLv2 since 2004, but it can be used under the terms of the GNU Affero General Public License.

MySQL database is often used for data storage, especially in web applications, and it is also widely used for creating and maintaining relational database tables. MySQL is owned by Oracle Corporation and was developed by a Swedish company called MySQL AB, which was bought by Sun Microsystems in 2008. As of 2009, the project is managed by Oracle Corporation.

It has become the most popular open source and best database software in the world, used on the web and mobile applications, by corporations large and small and across all industries.

PostgreSQL (Relational)

An object-relational database management system that supports SQL-based queries, similar to those used by other RDBMS systems such as MySQL or Oracle Database. PostgreSQL is developed and maintained by PostgreSQL Global Development Group, which is made up of several companies and individuals who have contributed code to the project over time.

PostgreSQL's developers do not require contributors to sign a Contributor License Agreement (CLA). The PostgreSQL license includes a clause requiring attribution of original authorship if it's not done automatically by the contributor's revision control system.

The software is distributed under an ISC license, which allows anyone to use it for any purpose without paying royalties or fees.

MongoDB (Non-Relational)

MongoDB is an open-source document-oriented database developed by MongoDB Inc. (formerly 10gen). The first version was released in 2009. It is written in C++ and provides a document-oriented data model that can be queried using a JSON-like query language.

A document can be thought of as a virtual "sheet" or "document" in a spreadsheet application such as Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets. A document contains multiple fields that may be similar to cells in an Excel spreadsheet or cells in an Access database table. These fields can have different types: text, numbers, dates, and so on.

MongoDB's development began in 2007 when its creators were working on software for the social media website Facebook.com. They attempted to create a new kind of database that would be better suited to the needs of web applications than traditional relational databases, but they found that commercial offerings did not meet their requirements. As a result, they developed a prototype called GridFS before founding 10gen to continue work on it as a product named MongoDB. In 2009, the company changed its name to MongoDB Inc., and in February 2010 it released the first production version of MongoDB.

Cassandra (Non-Relational)

Cassandra is an open-source database management system that runs on many servers, making it well-suited for handling large amounts of data. It offers fast performance and can scale up to a petabyte of data across multiple servers, making it useful for applications with high write-throughput requirements.

Cassandra is built on the principles of Dynamo with the goal of addressing some of its problems. The technology was developed at Facebook and released as an Apache Incubator project in 2009. It graduated from incubation in June 2010 and became an Apache Top-level Project (TLP) in January 2012.

Cassandra's architecture is based on Dynamo, but differs from it significantly in its design details, especially regarding consistency guarantees and failure detection mechanisms. In particular, Cassandra does not provide strong consistency; instead, it aims to provide high availability by making it easy to deploy multiple copies of the data across many hosts while tolerating failures at any one host. This makes Cassandra a popular choice for internet startups that must scale quickly and cheaply.

Cassandra is a key-value store, but it has flexible data models, so you can use it to store virtually any kind of data. You can also use Cassandra for full-text search, or even for storing graph data (although there are better options for graph storage than Cassandra).

Neo4j (Graph database)

Neo4j is an open-source graph database management system that stores data in a native graph database format. It's designed to store data and query it very quickly, making it ideal for applications that involve complex relationships between entities. It uses the native graph data model to provide ACID transactions, high availability, and indexing. It's used by many companies to power their critical applications, including eBay and Walmart.

Unlike relational databases, Neo4j doesn't enforce a schema on your data. This makes it easier to build applications that model real-world problems such as social networks or product recommendations. You can create multiple nodes for the same entity without duplicating data or having to use foreign keys. In addition, Neo4j allows you to add properties to existing nodes without having to create a new table first. These features make Neo4j much more agile than traditional relational databases when modeling complex relationships between entities with many attributes and relationships between them.

MariaDB (Relational)

MariaDB is a fork of the MySQL relational database management system intended to remain free under the GNU GPL. MariaDB was forked in 2009 by some of the original developers of MySQL when Oracle announced that it would no longer fully support the community-developed version of MySQL in favor of a paid enterprise product.

The original developers of MySQL created MariaDB to provide a better development environment and more robust performance. MariaDB strives to be compatible with MySQL and includes most of its storage engines. However, not all features are supported in MariaDB Server so it is recommended that you check for compatibility before using any feature that may be affected by a bug or limitation in MariaDB Server.

MSSQL (Relational)

MSSQL databases are the core of Microsoft SQL Server. It is a relational database management system (RDBMS), a special type of database software that is used to create, store and manipulate data in an organized manner.

MSSQL can be used to build enterprise-level business solutions and applications. Regardless of the platform or device your users are using, you can use MSSQL to create a centralized data store with a single version of the truth. You can also use it to create a single source of truth for your data analytics and reporting technologies, such as Power BI and Tableau.

How to Connect Database to Web Application

Connecting a database to a web application is an important step in your development process. By connecting your database to your web application, you can easily add new data, modify existing data, delete data, and more.

There are a few ways to do it. The simplest way is to use a direct query to get the value you need. This is not recommended because it will severely limit your flexibility and scalability.

Another approach is to use a stored procedure that returns the value. This can be done in SQL Server, MySQL server, or other RDBMSs. But what if your web application needs more than one value from the database? You would need to issue multiple queries or use another method.

The most common way to connect a database to an application is by using an Object Relational Mapper (ORM). This technology connects your program to the database and allows you to use it like a normal object. There are many different ORMs available today, but one of the most popular ones is called Active Record (AR). This library has been around for over 10 years now and has served as the foundation for many other ORMs such as Yii2 and Laravel.

Conclusion

The database is an integral part of any Web application or website. Whether it is used for storing data in an easy-to-access manner or for maintenance, the database is going to play a role in the success of your project and you can't overlook it. For those who are simply going to be accessing data, the strength of the database will not matter much as long as it has all the functionality they need. However, those who plan on using it or maintaining it should really explore why one database type may work better than another. If a web app is going to run fast and efficiently with minimal downtime, every consideration needs to be made so that bottlenecks do not occur. The success of your project may depend on your choice of database.