How Database Software Development Is Helping Businesses Grow

by Michael Kappel

Article by Jonathan Tabard

Database software development provides a fantastic opportunity for firms and companies to have databases designed to fit their own especial needs. Whatever records they need to keep, it is possible to design a piece of software which will make entry simple and checking as easy as pressing a button. It can reduce the amount of paper which needs to be stored and improve efficiency by a seriously measurable percentage.

A database is at its simplest, an item of software for storage and retrieval. A table is set up with several columns or fields in which information can be stored under main headings. A record is one set one information input under these various fields in a linear fashion. One piece of information is stored under each field. The information can then be retrieved by searching in any of the fields rather than being limited to the first field by which the information has been input.

The order of information in the table can be arranged according to any of the fields, either by number or in alphabetical order. This enables the user to gain different perspectives of the information which has been input.

More complicated retrieval can be in the form of a report whereby a series of fields, not necessarily all those that are available, are selected in order of priority and the information re-arranged in this fashion. Specific groups within the table can then be studied without other information distracting the user. A hard copy can be printed out produced if necessary.

However, in order for a database to be really effective, it is necessary to set it up in just the right fashion and this is where expert database developers triumph. They use their knowledge and experience of information storage and retrieval to provide a company, firm or organisation with just the type and style of database which will be most helpful to them in their work.

Several questions must be asked before database software development can proceed. First, and most obvious, must be: what information is going to be stored? Next: how will that information be used? What sort of information will need to be extracted is a most important consideration followed, finally, by what sort of queries or reports are expected to be produced?

Fields for storage can then be determined. At this stage it is also helpful to assess the nature of the information which will be stored under any particular field. This can improve data processing speed and reduce errors during data entry.

Field size is the number of characters which can be entered into any field. Some may only require a one letter entry like y or n for yes or no whilst others could be much longer. During entry, once this maximum has been achieved, the program moves the user onto the next field. This can speed up input.

A field property can simply be either text or numbers, but there are also other choices. Date, time and currency could be used and numbers can be fixed to show a particular limit of decimal places. Some information may need to be stored as both numbers and letters such as addresses. Fields can also be given drop-down menus to restrict the information entered. A gender field would only require male of female, for example.

Some fields, where there is a high percentage chance that the same piece of information will be used each time, can be given a default value which will appear as each record is set up, but this can be amended when an alternative situation occurs.

Not all fields need to be completed for a record to be accepted, but sometimes it is important that a specific piece of information be recorded for each entry. A field can be set to required, which will mean that no record will be accepted without that field being completed.

In database software development, the designers will be taking all these things into account in order to produce a database which will specifically meet the needs of each individual client. A system of queries and reports will be built into the software in order that the users may extract information quickly and easily, or tabulate it for ease or viewing and understanding. Any number of reports may be required and the design of the software will be such that the program sorts and collates the required data for each as quickly as possible.

To have access to information this easily makes it worthwhile to employ customised database software development. It makes research easier for the users and impresses the customer with the speed at which information can be gathered and presented. No company can go wrong with the individual touch.

About the Author

Jonathan Tabard is a software solutions expert, specialising in database software development and advises expert database developers.

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