0.1) Tables: In relational
database systems, data are represented using tables (relations). The data is
stored as records or rows or tuples in the table. The data
attributes contitute the columns of table. The structure of table
or relation schema is defined by these column attributes.
0.2) Database Schema: is a set of relation schemas. The extension of a database schema at database runtime is called a database instance or database, for short.
0.3) SQL: SQL stands for "Structured Query Language". This language allows us to pose complex questions of a database. It also provides a means of creating databases. SQL works with relational databases.
0.4) RDBMS Vs. ODBMS: The critical difference between RDBMS and ODBMS is the extent to which the programmer is constrained in interacting with the data. With an RDBMS the application program--written in a procedural language such as C, COBOL, Fortran, Perl, or Tcl--can have all kinds of catastrophic bugs. However, these bugs generally won't affect the information in the database because all communication with the RDBMS is constrained through SQL statements. With an ODBMS, the application program is directly writing slots in objects stored in the database. A bug in the application program may translate directly into corruption of the database, one of an organization's most valuable assets. With an object-relational database, you get to define your own data types. For example, you could define a data type called url... If you really want to be on the cutting edge, you can use a bona fide object database, like Object Design's ObjectStore (http://clickthrough.photo.net/ct/philg/wtr/thebook/databases-choosing.html?send_to=http://www.odi.com). These persistently store the sorts of object and pointer structures that you create in a Smalltalk, Common Lisp, C++, or Java program. Chasing pointers and certain kinds of transactions can be 10 to 100 times faster than in a relational database.
0.5) ACID Properties of RDBMS: Data processing folks like to talk about the "ACID test" when deciding whether or not a database management system is adequate for handling transactions. An adequate system has the following properties:
Results of a transaction's execution are either all committed or all rolled back. All changes take effect, or none do. That means, for Joe User's money transfer, that both his savings and checking balances are adjusted or neither are.
The database is transformed from one valid state to another valid state. This defines a transaction as legal only if it obeys user-defined integrity constraints. Illegal transactions aren't allowed and, if an integrity constraint can't be satisfied then the transaction is rolled back. For example, suppose that you define a rule that, after a transfer of more than $10,000 out of the country, a row is added to an audit table so that you can prepare a legally required report for the IRS. Perhaps for performance reasons that audit table is stored on a separate disk from the rest of the database. If the audit table's disk is off-line and can't be written, the transaction is aborted.
The results of a transaction are invisible to other transactions until the transaction is complete. For example, if you are running an accounting report at the same time that Joe is transferring money, the accounting report program will either see the balances before Joe transferred the money or after, but never the intermediate state where checking has been credited but savings not yet debited.
Once committed (completed), the results of a transaction are permanent and survive future system and media failures. If the airline reservation system computer gives you seat 22A and crashes a millisecond later, it won't have forgotten that you are sitting in 22A and also give it to someone else. Furthermore, if a programmer spills coffee into a disk drive, it will be possible to install a new disk and recover the transactions up to the coffee spill, showing that you had seat 22A.