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Lesson 8 Databases
Objective Explain the function of databases within the Web Interaction Model.

Database Web Interaction Model

A database is software that enables the systematic storage of other software files or components.
A database is an organized set of data elements that conform to a data model. This allows the data to be stored in a logically consistent fashion. Databases provide a number of services, including:
  1. Storage of data
  2. Retrieval of data
  3. Security of data
  4. Integrity of data
Databases can be very important components of Web applications. For example, databases are necessary to support the function of any Web applications that involve searching, calculations based on user input, updating information, customization, or personalization.

Databases in Web site applications

Databases are integral parts of any complex Web site application. They can store a wide variety of information that is used for different purposes. For example, in an e-commerce application, databases may store the following:
  1. Information about consumers such as name and credit card number
  2. Purchase history, brand or product preferences
  3. Items that have been placed in an online shopping cart
  4. Product information (including product types and pricing)
  5. Personal information such as clothing size, medical conditions, type of car owned
  6. Shipping and distribution information
  7. Search engine query terms
  8. Site the user was at before this site; site the user went to after this site
  9. Which pages the user visited, how long the user spent on each page
With such key information being compiled into a profile in a database, you can see why security and integrity of data are serious concerns.

Where do databases fit in the model?

In the Web Interaction Model, databases support Information Architecture by providing the raw material that is acted on by search functions. Databases can store far more informational resources than can be displayed by Web pages. In Web applications, databases are commonly accessed via ODBC (Open Database Connectivity) or JDBC (Java Database Connectivity). The image below illustrates the relationship between databases, database connectivity applications, and a Web server in a typical Web interaction.
Question: List five functions that databases might serve in an e-commerce site.
Answer: You may have listed some of the following actions.
Storing information about consumers such as name and credit card number, purchase history, brand or product preferences, personal info such as clothing size, medical conditions, type of car owned. Retrieving data on items that have been placed in an online shopping cart. Storing product information (including product types and pricing). Managing shipping and distribution information. Storing and accessing search engine query terms. Tracking site statistics such as data on the site the user was at before this site; site the user went to after this site, which pages the user visited, how long the user spent on each page.
You will learn about the potential advantages of bundled software solutions in the next lesson.