Databases are apps designed to store, organize and filter information.
There are several types of databases out there but by far the most popular type, is the ‘relational’ database.
Nerd note: To be precise, this type of database is called a: relational database management system, or as the nerds like to call them: RDBMS.
Examples of relational databases include:
- Microsoft SQL Server
...And there are many others.
If you were to visualize a relational database, they kinda look like a bunch spreadsheets that are interconnected. All relational databases work in pretty much the same way - if you learn one, you will have gone a long way to learning how to use any relational database. Although some (ex: Oracle) are exceptionally complex.
Database Driven Web Apps
The vast majority of web apps make heavy use of relational databases. In fact PHP (the most popular language for web app creation) grew up hand-in-hand with MySQL and to this day, they are tightly coupled in the real world. If you are writing PHP, you are probably going to be using MySQL as your database.
...Although you could use PHP with several other databases. Because MySQL is free and used by so many small and medium sized business, we teach relational databases using MySQL.
SQL - the Language of Relational Databases
To control an RDMS, you need to learn the SQL language. SQL is short for Structured Query Language. In non nerd terms, SQL is a language that allows you to query the database. Query is another way to say "ask questions."
Fortunately, SQL is a 4th generation language, that means it is designed to look as much as possible like a spoken language … English. So this makes learning basic SQL pretty easy. Although advanced SQL can be complex brain-benders!
To learn databases, you should begin with: