Unless you have been living under a rock for the past twenty years you will have noticed the sudden steep changes our world has taken towards the technological. We are ushering into an era where computers are becoming more and more common. Like some kind of sci-fi flick, wherever you look your bound to see a computer. From PDA’s, to computer systems in automobiles, even our cell phones have computer like capabilities coming with miniature keyboards and able to use the Internet. For the computer enthusiast, like me, it’s like living in a dream come true.
I remember when I was ten years old I had this Apple IIe. My gramps gifted it to me because I was constantly using it whenever I visited him. I didn’t just know how to boot it up; I could program in it with BASIC and Cobol and did some of my very first programs at that age. Needless to say I loved that computer a lot. I built games for it, miniature databases (ie Name, Age, School Info) and even drew ASCII art.
I also remember messing around with some schoolmates, the lucky few who had computers and knew about them, about how we could use our computers to connect to satellite and communicate with people around the world, how we could have video quality conversations and send encrypted information between us. It was all make believe. But surprisingly it was as if we had known what the future would hold. As if we had made a prediction, which eerily became quite true. At those times there was really no World Wide Web and certainly no Internet.
By the time I was 16 I already knew how to work on PCs and at the time Windows 3.1. My old computer had met and untimely “death” and at the time I wanted a newer computer. I ended up using my friend’s computers or the ones in school and I had to literally get kicked out whenever I sat down to use one. At the time owning a computer was sort of expensive and so not everyone had computers.
Fast forward to this last few years and now almost everyone has a computer, because they’ve become quite affordable, and eerily almost everything my schoolmates and me made up came to reality. Almost everything that we played around with is available: video conferences, information sent through the Internet, e-mail, shopping malls, news and more at the click of a button.
This means that storing information has become much more valuable and having that information at a moments notice has become more critical. Most companies, government jobs, schools, universities, libraries and even personal computers have use of databases to store said data. This has lead to a market where data vendors sell databases to the aforementioned entities.
Building a database might not be the hardest thing but when time constraints play against you and cost is not an issue then sometimes its best to simply outsource it to the experts. Thankfully there are a variety of data vendors out there and the prices are quite affordable for any company to get a professional and well-done database that suits their needs. Other data vendors, like DB2Go, simply have a collection of ready-made databases for the person to download. All the person has to do is go in and get whatever they need.
There’s also the DIY method. Thanks to the Internet there are a myriad of online tutorials, examples, codes and resources out there. There is an abundance of books on the topic as well. Books like Access Database Design & Programming ADO.NET in a Nutshell, ASP.NET in a Nutshell, Java Oracle Database Development and Mastering Visual Basic .NET Database Programming are very useful and can be found at your local bookstore. I highly suggest if you are serious about database programming to have them close to your desktop for reference.
It’s clear that databases are far more important and much more complex then they used to be back from the time when all you needed was a few fields in BASIC. Today a person can build powerful database driven websites. Information Systems, which are becoming more common in places like Airports, Libraries and even commercial places such as Shopping Centers and Malls, rather then just corporations and big name companies, also make extensive use of databases. Thanks God there are a lot of ways and options for those who need one, from outsourcing it to experts to the good old fashioned DIY way.