Chapter 2 Retrieving Data from a Database In

Chapter 2 Retrieving Data from a Database In This Chapter Finding out about database concepts Looking at database diagrams Building an SQL query In Chapter 1, I start you off with tons of great info about how a cool new reporting tool Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Reporting Services can help you write better reports. (I know, because I put the info there.) What Chapter 1 doesn t cover are the basic, everyday database concepts concepts that might prove useful to anyone who, say, actually wants to work with a database. And this is why Chapter 1 inevitably leads to Chapter 2. Rest assured that after reading this chapter, you ll have enough background and knowledge to be able to handle most of what you ll ever encounter when accessing data from relational databases. Okay, you might come across some higher-end issues that a real database administrator (DBA) should deal with, but even there, I show you how to phrase a request so that your organization s DBA will be impressed by your sharp business sense and acumen. Discovering What Makes a Database A database is nothing more than a collection of data stored in some organized fashion. Databases use the concept of tables as the organizing scheme. Just like working with a filing system to organize your papers, tables are used to store structured data of a specific type. And as long as I m defining stuff, another name for a table is an entity a thing that can be distinctly identified. For example, orders and customers are examples of entities. They are things that are distinct from each other but relevant to your business. In a relational database named SALES, you d expect to find two distinct entities named ORDER and CUSTOMER.

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