Posted by Mišo Barišić on July 10, 2021 (4m read)

What is a database?

In simple terms, a database is a glorified (and mostly organized) collection of information. You can store any type of data you can think of. You might have heard of SQL, right?

When can I use one?

Fortunately, you are able to use one at any time and for virtually anything. How many times have you been in a situation where you had already asked somebody where they graduated, but you could not remember their exact answer. If there were only a solution to your problem you could have implemented in hindsight... Oh right, there is! Your own personal database with information about your contacts.

I recommend not storing super sensitive data about people or anything but who am I to stop you?

There's a catch...

A database on its own is pretty useless. Be it MySQL, PostgreSQL, MongoDB or Firebase. You are not going to be able to use it efficiently if you have to directly look at its contents. My advice is, if you can, to create your own interface of a sort. A RESTful API sounds great for the start. After successfully creating an API and connecting it with your database of choice, you are set to create a website or a fully fledged app to take full advantage of your prior work.

Butttt, do I need one?

If you're a techie, yes! Most definitely yes! Otherwise no, unless you're willing to go through the process of learning how to host a database, an API and a website all on your own.