Flat files, relational databases

flat files, relational databases, and advantages and disadvantages of relational databases

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flat files

  • single table of data
  • table not connected to anything else
  • used to store lists
  • easy to create
  • contains a lot of duplicate data
  • problems due to duplicate data:

     - file size large, storage space is wasted, slow to retrieve data

    - easy to create errors when entering data

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relational databases

  • when 2 or more flat files are combined
  • tables are liked with foreign keys and relationships
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adavntages and disadvantages or relational databas


  • data consistancy- each data item is only stored once, no danger of data being updated in one place and not the other
  • time saved on entering data as data doesn't need to entered repeatidly
  • data redundancy- no data is unecessarily replicated  so no storage space is wasted
  • uses a databse management system (DBMS) which controls the access to different parts of the database son only certain users can access it.
  • DBMS uses referential integrity- set of rules applyed to data to prevent you from entering inconsistant data


  • setting up and maintaining relational databases is complex and time comsuming
  • complex software needed to set up and maintain databse
  • expertise needed to carry out effective design, creation and maintenance
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