Databases for Web-Developers
Web database applications provide much of the resources that we enjoy on the Web. To develop a good interactive web application, users have to face so many challenges. One of them is choosing the best suitable database management system for the web application. Users need to create a database program to construct a modern website.
A database is a software used to store and retrieve the user’s data by taking appropriate security measures. When taking note of developers to mention databases you will usually hear the buzzwords like sturdy, scalable, efficient, etc. Discussions will specialize in the facility of the DBMS (Database Management System) and the way it integrates with other technologies such as website development .
Frontend and Backend:
The part of a website that can be easily seen by the users is nothing but a frontend part and the interaction the user had with the particular website is known as the backend. Backend is a technology that fills the soul of the website. It is a technology that supports the front end of the website. It offers interaction between the user and the data which is stored in the database and also offers the user the best experience .
Basically, backend development is a combination of server-side programming languages such as Python, Java, Ruby, PHP, CPP, etc.  Also, there is a logic-based development that fetches, alters, and connects the data which is present in the database according to the interaction between the user and the website. Backend development deals with the speed and the overall performance of the website. It continuously runs calls back and forth, fetching, retrieving, and pushing the data from the database to the user’s schema . Stronger the backend strongest the performance of the website!
What is a database? Why is it important for web development?
Before coming to the definition and understanding the database, we need to understand what the data is. The collection of certain objects that ranges from plain simple facts to complex images provides the user with necessary information about the particular entity . The database is an organized and structured collection of the data and a DBMS (Database Management System) is a system from which users can retrieve, fetch, and store the data by taking the appropriate security measures .
There are various types of database management systems. The widely used and most common DBMS are Navigational DBMS, Relational DBMS, SQL DBMS, and Object-Oriented DBMS.
In Relational DBMS, the data is stored with the help of relations among the data. On the other hand, SQL DBMS as its name itself gives the information that is a structured query language. Users can perform certain operations like insert, search, update and delete the tables or the data. SQL DBMS helps to optimize and maintain the data within the database .
Nowadays, web technologies have crossed the peak of development and it is advancing very fast. While wondering about what the ‘Web Applications’ are, developers have started to transition to ‘Progressive Web Applications.’ Almost every web application requires a database for certain reasons relating to the data. For instance, a shopping application requires the database to interact with the products and the customers as well as for authentication purposes .
A dynamic web application such as a news application, restaurant application, or blog, which changes its data on the run-time requires instant and frequent updating of web pages. For such applications that change their data in the run time, creating and altering a new HTML page every time is a very boring task. This is the moment where the database comes into action and makes the developer’s task easiest.
The database also helps in authentication action in websites having login and signup functionality. Such websites display customized web pages based on the logged-in user. The database can be a really helpful thing to a web developer if used correctly.
Some of the popular database management systems used by web developers:
MySQL may be a freely available open-source RDBMS that uses structured query (command) language. It is the most popular language for adding, accessing, and managing the content in the database. MySQL is most noted for its quick processing, proven reliability, ease, and flexibility it offers to its users. MySQL is a most essential part of almost every open-source PHP application. As MySQL is a relational database, it offers an updatable view, SSL support, query caching, triggers, and built-in replication support .
MySQL allows the implementation of a database in computer systems, to manage users, database integrity testing, and backup creation.
Since MySQL is the world’s most popular open-source database system, it is very much important to understand its architecture. One of the main reasons for its popularity is its architecture which is unique among all other DBMS. The architecture describes how the different components of a MySQL system relate to one another. The MySQL architecture is basically a client-server system. MySQL database server is that server and therefore the applications which are connecting to MySQL database server are clients.
Some features of MySQL:
- MySQL database is very much easier to use. Users have to get only the basic knowledge of SQL. Users can interact with MySQL by using simple SQL statements. It is very much secure to use, consists of a solid data security layer that protects confidential data from intruders. Passwords are also encrypted in MySQL.
- Because of its client-server architecture, the database server and many clients can communicate with the server; that is, they can query the data, make changes in it, and also be able to save it. MySQL supports multithreading which makes it easy to scale. MySQL can handle any amount of data, up to as much as 50 million rows or more than that. The default size limit of the MySQL database is 4 GB but users can increase this number to a limit of 8 TB of data.
- MySQL is one of the fastest database languages, having a large number of benchmark tests. Also, it is allowing its users more flexibility by supporting several embedded applications. MySQL is compatible with many operating systems, like Novell NetWare, Windows, Linux, etc. 
Why do web developers prefer MySQL:
- MySQL allows rollback, commit, and crash recovery to the transactions. Also, it is very memory efficient because of its very low memory leakage problem. MySQL gives a very high-performance rate as compared to other databases without losing essential functionalities of the software. Also, it is more reliable, and cheaper because of its unique storage engine architecture.
- MySQL uses Stored procedures, triggers, and views which allows the user to give high productivity. The partitioning feature of MySQL improves the performance and provides fast management of the massive data. Also, it provides a singular graphical user interface (GUI) tool named “MySQL Workbench”, which works with database architects, web developers, and database administrators .
Some popular websites that use the MySQL database: Facebook.com, linkedin.com, YouTube.com, Wikipedia.com, Twitter.com, etc.
PostgreSQL is a database management system that is an open-source DBMS which is an enterprise-class. This DBMS supports both SQL for relational and JSON for non-relational queries. There is a tremendous contribution of the developers to make PostgreSQL a highly reliable DBMS system.
It also supports advanced data types and advanced performance optimization, features only available within the expensive commercial database, like Oracle and SQL Server.
PostgreSQL has a client-server architecture. In this type of DBMS, at the server-side, the instance is built with the help of PostgreSQL’s processes and shared memory. This instance handles access to the data. Client programs request operations like read and write by connecting to this instance. The body of PostgreSQL consists of shared memory and a couple of background processes and therefore the data files .
Some features of PostgreSQL:
- PostgreSQL offers many functionalities that help web developers to build an application and it also helps administrators to build a fault-tolerant environment by protecting data integrity.
- PostgreSQL is more compatible with different platforms with the help of all major languages and middleware. It also offers the most urbane locking mechanism and support for multi-version concurrency control. PostgreSQL has mature server-side programming functionality and full support for client-server network architecture.
- It is a log-based and trigger-based replication SSL with a standby server and high availability. The main feature of PostgreSQL is it supports the JSON which allows linking with other data stores like NoSQL which acts as a federated hub for polyglot databases .
Why do web developers prefer PostgreSQL:
- PostgreSQL consists of features like Multi-Version Concurrency Control (MVCC), point-in-time recovery, tablespaces, asynchronous replication, nested transactions, online /hot backups, a classy query planner/optimizer, and write-ahead logging for fault tolerance.
- PostgreSQL supports various operating systems such as Linux, Unix, Windows, Mac OS X, etc. It is an open-source system that makes it easier to upgrade or extend. PostgreSQL allows users to define their own data types, build custom functions. It also allows users to write code in other programming languages like python without recompiling the database .
Some popular websites that use the PostgreSQL database: Yahoo.com, Skype.com, Netflix.com, etc.
MongoDB is a database that is document-oriented and uses NoSQL for high volume data storage. Instead of using the rows and tables as used in traditional RDBMS, MongoDB makes use of collections and documents. Documents that have key-value pairs are the basic unit of the data in MongoDB. The collections in MongoDB contain a set of documents and functions which is the equivalent of relational database tables .
Some features of MongoDB:
- Each database which a developer uses contains collections that in turn contain documents. Wherein each document can have many different fields. The size and content of each of the documents can be different from each other.
- The document is more in line with how the developers construct their classes and objects in their perspective programming languages. Developers can store a clear structure of classes having only the key-value pair instead of storing them in rows and columns.
- It is fine to not have the schema for the documents in MongoDB which is defined beforehand. Instead of that, the fields can be created on the fly.
- MongoDB consists of a data model which allows users to represent hierarchical relationships, to store the arrays, and other complex structures in the easiest way .
Why do web developers prefer MongoDB?
- MongoDB is a document-oriented database. It stores the data in its form of documents instead of having data in a relational type format. This property of MongoDB makes it more flexible to use.
- MongoDB supports the search based on field, range queries, and regular expressions.
- Indexing is a key feature in MongoDB which makes the user use this database. To improve the performance of searches within MongoDB indexes can be created. Any field present in the MongoDB documents can be indexed.
- Also, MongoDB offers some functionalities such as replication, which consists of two or more MongoDB instances. There are certain replica sets involved in MongoDB. Each replica set member can act within the role of the first or the secondary replica at any time. These replicas perform all the read/write operations.
- The sharding Concept is used in MongoDB to scale the data horizontally by splitting it across multiple MongoDB instances. MongoDB can run on multiple servers at an equivalent time, balancing the load and duplication of the info to stay the system optimized and running just in case of hardware failure .
Some popular websites that use the MongoDB database: ebay.com, Shutterfly.com, borderfree.com, etc.
An oracle database is a unit in which the collection of data is treated. A database is a solution to the problems related to information management. An oracle server manages a large amount of data in a multiuser environment so that multiple users can access the data at the same time. This is accomplished while delivering high performance. A database server is also useful for authentication purposes, it prevents unauthorized access and provides efficient solutions for failure recovery .
Oracle database is the very first database that is designed for enterprise grid computing. Grid computing is the most flexible and cost-effective thanks to managing information and applications. It also creates large pools of industry-standard, modular storage, and servers. With the help of this type of architecture, each new system can be rapidly provisioned from the pool of components. There is no problem with the peak workloads, as the capacity can be easily added or relocated from the resource pools as the demand. Oracle database has logical as well as physical structures. As the physical and the logical structures are separate, without affecting the logical storage structures, the physical storage of the data can be managed.
Applications based on the oracle have the capabilities that enable responsive and beautiful applications based on databases. The only requirement is the web browser which has a powerful reporting system on metadata used in web applications. Customization and designing for the website require minimal coding resulting in user interfaces that are completely customizable and can be easily accessed. It has a wide range of designs, layouts, templates, themes, and has a powerful navigation control. Oracle database supports data migration, replication, search and backups, development, virtualization, and performance analysis .
Some popular websites that use the oracle database: linkedin.com, jpmorganchase.com, pnc.com, cdkglobal.com, etc.
Cassandra is a distributed DBMS. It is basically designed for handling a high volume of structured data across commodity servers. Since Cassandra has a distributed architecture, it has the ability to handle a huge amount of data. In Cassandra, the data is placed on different machines with more than one replication factor which provides high availability and no failure at a single point .
The below image shows the circles are Cassandra nodes and the lines between the circles indicate the distributed architecture, while the client is sending the data to the node.
Cassandra is a NoSQL type of database having the properties like simplicity in design, horizontal, scaling, and high availability. The type of data structures that are used in Cassandra is more specific than the type of data structures used in relational databases. Basically, the data structures of Cassandra are faster than the relational data structures. Nowadays, Big Data and real-time web applications increasingly use NoSQL databases.
Some features of Cassandra:
- Cassandra features a design during which all the nodes are at an equivalent level which provides operational simplicity and straightforward scale-out. Also, Cassandra's data can be written and read in any mode.
- As more nodes get added to the database, the performance of Cassandra increases, which is the key feature of Cassandra.
- Failure in Cassandra DBMS is very rare since it replicates the data on different nodes which ensures no single point of failure.
- The nodes which are failed to store can be easily restored and recovered in Cassandra DBMS. Also, it supports the data types with fast writes and reads.
- Security of the Cassandra DBMS is very delicate, as the data is protected with commit log design and built-in backup and restore mechanisms. It can compress the data up to 80% without any overhead.
- Cassandra provides a query language, which makes it easier for the relational database developers moving from a relational database to Cassandra .
Why do web developers prefer Cassandra DBMS?
- It completes the requirement for fast writes. Also, it easily deals with data variety, data complexity, and data velocity issues. It can handle massive data sets in a humongous environment.
- Cassandra is easy for admiration and it provides custom tuning. It is very easy to integrate with the core applications since it has excellent monitoring options .
Some popular websites that use the Cassandra database: facebook.com, twitter.com, nytimes.com, Walmart.com, etc.
Comparison of Databases: 
Operating System (OS) Support to Databases: 
The database has become the heart of almost every application. Without taking the help of the database, for a developer, it is very difficult to store and retrieve data.
Getting started and becoming familiar with database development is not nearly as it used to be. As mentioned above, most database management system producers offer a free version of their enterprise products. This means the cost of getting started with the DBMS for any of the applications such as web applications, android applications, etc. is pretty much whatever it is going to cost for some books.
Authors: Tejas Kachare, Rushikesh Chounde, Swapnil Jadhav, Kaustubh Bhale, Pratik Waso.
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