data structures versus data bases???
paul at boddie.net
Wed Nov 14 17:19:13 CET 2001
husam <h.jehadalwan at student.kun.nl> wrote in message news:<3BF1163C.9000502 at student.kun.nl>...
> ok, now it's clear.
> thank you all for your contributions.
But we wanted the half hour argument! ;-)
I'd distinguish between databases and data structures as follows:
A database is a collection of information stored in a structured
fashion, possibly along with a description of how elements of that
information are related to each other (although that description is
really the database meta-data). An example of a database would be
"software packages registered at The Vaults of Parnassus".
A data structure is a mechanism for storing information. It dictates
the interface which lets you add, search for, investigate or remove
items of information from the structure. Examples of a data structure
are dictionaries, lists, stacks, trees and so on.
One might start to argue whether or not a relational database
management system (RDBMS) such as Oracle, PostgreSQL, etc. is an
implementation of a data structure. Therefore, one could add the
A database (management) system is a system which implements data
structures to store information, typically restricting access to those
data structures by providing an abstract interface to the information.
Therefore, one could regard a database system as being something which
potentially implements a number of data structures (in the case of an
RDBMS, we could consider a "table" as a data structure) with each of
these potentially incorporating other data structures (for an RDBMS
table, this might well involve various kinds of tree data structures).
Of course, this is a vague discussion of the nomenclature, and out
there on the Internet, there's probably somewhere which lists the
"official" definitions from the "gods of Computer Science and database
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