I want to briefly explain a little about each of the different types of databases I have used over the years.
Access is the popular database program supplied as part of the Microsoft Office suite. It is popular with Office users who understand that Excel is not a database. The SQL View allows you to enter SQL queries to be executed when you click the !Run button. Excel is a good spreadsheet tool, which can use data directly out of Access, or SQL server.
Microsoft has several popular SQL Server databases for systems running Windows, typically called MS-SQL Server, or just SQL Server. SQL Server Express is a free, lightweight and feature-rich database for data-enabled web and Windows applications. SQL queries can be executed from the SQL Server Management Studio. Visual Studio can be used to create computer programs that make queries against a database via an ODBC Data Source. Simply select the Connect to Database item on the Tools menu to launch the Add Connections dialog, then choose a data source from the “Use user or system data source name” drop-down list. SQL queries can then be made from the program code.
IBM also has several databases. I first came across IBM’s DB2 DBMS, a powerful multi-platform database system, when I was at College Fund. DB2-Express is a free full function DB2 data server. SQL queries can be executed from its db2 => command prompt. I had installed the basic DB2 on my windows development system when I was getting ready to work with WebSphere. Then I went to my boss, who was in charge of Data Processing, the old-time guys on AS/400, and told him, I think we need to install DB2 onto the main server, our AS/400. Ya, that was funny, he laughed, and helped me understand, the AS/400 IS a box built around DB2/400, with an operating system. I knew they had used RPG as a language, not understanding that RPG is a report programing language to because the AS/400 is nothing more than a super fast batch processing report generating computer. All the data, and some rules, and these guys had created an amazing insurance management program.
Following College Fund and our transformation to WebSphere, I later moved over to run servers for ADP, and first learned a little about Oracle DBMS, popular and widely used in commerce. Oracle Database Express Edition (Oracle Database XE) is a free entry-level, small-footprint database that is simple to administer. SQL queries can be executed from its SQL> command prompt. Don’t ask me how I once crashed a live FEMA database, quite by accident. I have worked with 9i, and 10g, and have no current idea about the newest latest and greatest Oracle changes.
I have since figured out, that companies build with certain stack features. Such as if your a Visual Studio shop with ASP.NET and C#, then most likely you have a SQL Server behind it. Likewise if your a Java shop, then you most likely have Oracle in your stack. My next stack I work with is MySQL with works well with PHP. Most Content Management Systems(CMS) like WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal use this PHP/MySQL stack. SharePoint, being Microsoft’s CMS product is SQL Server based.
The world’s most popular open-source database server is the freely available MySQL DBMS product that is supplied with an integral SQL-client from which to execute SQL queries from its mysql> command prompt. MySQL is used throughout this book to demonstrate the SQL language. You can install MySQL on both Windows and Linux platforms. The common term LAMP stack stands for Linux, the operating system, Apache, the web server, MySQL is the database, and PHP.
Well that is my short, in a nutshell story of the types of databases and full-stacks I have used over the years.