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Data storage methods

Discuss the pros and cons of different data storage methods, including a database, which can be loosely defined as digital data storage?

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Common Ways to Store Data
1. Traditional database system ? Microsoft Access, Oracle, SQL Server, etc.

Information is stored as a complete record. You can easily query the data and create new variables or data subsets. In many applications, you can create a user interface for entering the data.

Requires time and technical skill to initially design the database and to set up variables correctly

Databases vary widely in capability and functionality, but all commercial database applications also carry a large amount of overhead both in distributed size and memory usage.

2. Sequential file access
Sequential files are generally the easiest for a new programmer to read and write. Unfortunately, they leave a lot to be desired when it comes to manipulating the data. The two preferred ways to read them are:
a) Comma delimited Line Input # statement to read lines individually. The individual values can be used to populate a User-Defined Type (UDT) or fields of a Record object defined by a class in the project.
b) Read the entire file into the program and then get the individual lines using a Split statement. From there, each line has to be split up even further to get the individual fields. This is a lot of work to do what the other file access methods achieve automatically.

Fast ? no database engine to initialize.
Size ? much smaller than a traditional database. Field length is not pre-defined.
Compatibility ? can be imported/exported by a variety of applications making them the most flexible way to share data.
File can be viewed and edited using a simple text editor.
Existing records and new records can be placed directly into the existing file.
The one big advantage a sequential file has over all other types, including commercial databases, is that many other programs that are capable of importing data can recognize the fields and import from or export to the same format. In fact, even if your application uses another file type, having an export function that saves data into a sequential file is an almost foolproof way to allow other applications to access the same data.

Not flexible in data storage. All records must be of the same type. That is, if you want your program to loop through ...

Solution Summary

Pros and cons of different data storage methods, including a database, which can be loosely defined as digital data storage are explored.