Understanding the concept of databases and their various types, like relational and non-relational databases, can be difficult for people not experienced in coding and application development. However, it does not mean that it is an impossible task. This article will help you get complete knowledge about relational databases, their pros and cons, examples, and how you can create a relational database even with no coding experience. Let's start with the fundamentals of relational databases.
Overview of Relational Database
A relational database is a collection of properly organized information with clearly defined relationships so that it can easily be accessed and retrieved. According to the traditional relational database model, the data structures that include data tables, views, and indexes are kept separate from the physical storage structures. As a result, database administrators can edit the physical data storage without impacting the logical data structure.
Various types of organizations, especially large-scale enterprises, use relational databases to organize the data and form clear relationships between the key data points. Hence, it becomes easy to search and find the required information that is needed to make key business decisions. Structured data is typically the foundation of an efficient relational database.
Working on a Relational Database
A relational database use data tables to store information about the related objects. Every row has a unique identifier called a key, while every column has the data attributes. It is easy to identify the relationships between the data points in a relational database because every record assigns a value to each feature of the database.
Structured Query Language (SQL) is a relational database's standard user and application program interface (API). The goal of the SQL code statements is to create interactive queries for the information contained in a relational database and gather the data for decision-making and reporting. It is also important to have clearly defined data integrity rules to make the relational database accurate and accessible.
Structure of a Relational Database
You can better understand the working and creation of a relational database by getting familiar with its structure. Tables in a relational database have a key column that contains a unique value for every row. This column is known as a primary key.
Whereas columns in a table refer to primary keys in other tables are called foreign keys. It is vital to have these columns because data in various tables are related to each other through the matching values in the key columns. Columns are also called fields or attributes, while rows are also referred to as records.
In an ideal relational database, each table should represent a particular entity type, such as a customer, product, or income. Each row refers to the specific instance of that entity type, while the column refers to the particular value of that instance, such as the customer's name, price of the product, or an exact amount.
An organization's sales database has two tables called income and services.
- The services table will have columns for name, duration, and cost.
- The income table will have columns for sale date, exact payment, discount, and address.
Every entry in the income will have a foreign key that refers to the primary key of the services table. There can be multiple sales for every product, so this type of relation between the services and income table is called a one-to-many relationship. We will explore the type of relationships in relational databases in detail later in the article.
Importance of Relational Databases
Now that you are familiar with the basics of relational databases, you might wonder why these are important and what their benefits are. Let's explore the pros and cons of relational databases in detail so you can master the art of creating relational databases for application development.
Following are the major benefits of using relational databases:
- Maximum Data Accuracy
There is minimal risk for data duplication since relational databases are built up using keys. It might be challenging to determine which source of information is reliable if there are several records of the same data. Removing duplicate items in relational databases guarantees the accuracy of your data.
You won't be constrained in the future while adding additional data if you build a relational database. The database provides the flexibility to expand and change as needed to accommodate the demands of the information that will be kept.
- Easy and Quick Data Accessibility
It is challenging to search, filter, and arrange the data as you want in other kinds of databases that depend on information hierarchy or predefined paths to access information. Instead, extracting the precise data you want from a relational database is considerably easier.
There are a few disadvantages of using relational databases in app development as well.
- Complex Structure
Because columns must be created and data must properly fit into rather strict categories, relational databases need a lot of structure and planning. Although the structure has several advantages, it also has significant disadvantages, including maintenance challenges and a lack of adaptability and scalability without proper expertise.
- Challenging Maintenance
A significant amount of time, effort, and expertise are required to maintain a relational database with top-notch quality. Database administrators typically hire database experts and developers to manage and optimize the database.
- Inflexible for Unstructured Data
Large amounts of unstructured data are not well suited for management by relational databases. Relational databases are not the best choice for data that is primarily qualitative, difficult to describe, or dynamic since the schema must change over time as the data changes or develops, which takes time. A non-relational database is more suitable for dealing with unstructured data.
Relational databases do not scale horizontally effectively across numerous servers and physical storage architectures. As a data set grows and becomes more dispersed, the structure is disturbed, and the utilization of numerous servers impacts performance (such as application response times) and availability. It is challenging to manage relational databases across several servers.
How do you code a relational database?
Users have to define the domain of potential values in a data column and constraints when they are coding a relational database. For instance, a domain of potential clients can allow up to 100 customer names, but you can limit it to one table to allow up to only ten customer names.
It is also important to consider the constraints while creating a relational database. Entity integrity is useful in making the primary key of a table unique and ensuring its value is not set to null. Referential integrity is needed to ensure every value in a foreign key column is found in the original table's primary key.
You should also know that, unlike non-relational databases, relational databases have physical data independence. The system can make modifications in the inner schema without affecting the external schemas or apps. By having these concepts, you can rely on relational database management systems like Microsoft Access, Oracle, and MySQL to create sophisticated databases with minimum or no coding experience.
What is an example of a relational database?
The goal of the standard relational databases is to allow users to manage and organize predefined data relationships on multiple databases. Nowadays, cloud-based relational databases are becoming highly popular because organizations are able to outsource integral processes like database maintenance and infrastructure support.
Some of the most popular examples of relational databases are:
- MySQL is used for web applications like Joomla and WordPress.
- SQLite is a popular C library utilized in embedding relational database functionality into software packages.
- Microsoft Access is a popular part of the Microsoft Office and Microsoft 365 Suite. It has a user-friendly interface to facilitate beginners in relational database management and development.
- PostgreSQL is an open-source relational database management system (RDBMS) that focuses on compliance with the ANSI SQL standards and provides many useful features like extensibility.
- Microsoft Azure SQL, Google Cloud SQL, Amazon Relational Database Service, and IBM DB2 on Cloud are some of the modern popular cloud-based RDBMS.
What are the Types of Relationships in a Database?
There are four different types of defined relationships in a relational database. You should be familiar with these relationships to ensure you are able to select the proper relationship and maximize the accuracy.
As the name suggests, in a one-to-one relationship, one row in one table is related to only one row in another table.
In a one-to-many relationship, one row of information is related to many records in a varying collection.
It is the opposite of a one-to-many relationship. In simpler words, many rows of information are related to one record in a many-to-one relationship.
In a many-to-many relationship, one row within a table can be associated with many rows in the second table. Similarly, one row in the second table can be related to many rows in the first table.
What are the three basic relationships in a relational database?
There is a certain data type you choose when creating a connection to indicate that you want that attribute to be specified by an existing collection. It is not a typical property where you may choose a data type like text, integer, date, or picture, for example. Whether or not you can display, organize, and filter data in a manner that makes sense for your app depends on how well you set up connections. One-to-one, one-to-many, and many-to-many are the three basic relationships in a relational database.
Relational databases are useful for organizing structured data into tabular formats that have established relationships. However, choosing the best database architecture involves much more than simply deciding between relational and non-relational models. Key considerations include the kind of data and applications being utilized or generated. Discover some additional aspects to consider when selecting a database model for a corporate application.
The overall creation, implementation, deployment, and maintenance of a relational database can be an overwhelming process, especially if you are not familiar with coding. The good thing is that there are no-code platforms like AppMaster that allow you to create powerful backend and databases for both mobile applications and web applications. It is useful in creating reliable, efficient, and secure databases without worrying about your coding skills and still getting the best results.
No-code platforms allow you to create sophisticated apps without spending excessive money on hiring developers and database administrators. Therefore, you should check out the platforms like AppMaster to benefit from the modern AI-based tools and technologies in mobile app development and the creation of relational databases without coding.