What is the main difference between Excel and Relational Databases ?
Just a quick post today.
So what is the main difference between Microsoft Excel and Relational Databases such as MS Access, SQL Server, Oracle, DB2, Postgresql, Mysql, Firebird etc ?
The main difference is that Excel focuses on individual data items, cells, a databases focus on collections of data items, rows.
Think about how you edit data within Excel, you select the cell you are interested in and modify the value. In a database data is edited (updated in database parlance) by using an Update Statement. Update statements operate on all rows that match the specified criteria.
Of course you can deal with multiple data items in a single operation in Excel and you can deal with a single data item in an operation with a relational database. But that’s not where their emphasis is.
If you are familiar with one, either Exel or databases, but not the other, understanding this fundamental difference in perspective is important. It will help you realise more quickly when the task you are trying to accomplish is best handled in a manner different than you expected.