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Relational database

Q: What is a relational database?

A: RTG Bills uses a relational database to store your data. A relational database is an efficient, reliable way to store information.

In a relational database, information is stored in tables. Each table is similar to a spreadsheet: it has rows, which are called records, and columns, which are called fields. For example, each client record contains fields for the client number, the client name, and so on.

What makes a database relational is that the records in different tables are related by shared fields. For example, a fee transaction record is related to a client record by having the same value of the client number field in both records.

The word database is commonly used in three different ways. It may refer to:

  1. the software used by a program to "talk" to the database (e.g., the Microsoft Jet database engine);
  2. the file or files that contain the data (e.g., Rtgbills.mdb);
  3. an application program for creating and manipulating databases (e.g., Microsoft Access).

RTG Bills uses the Microsoft Jet database engine, which is the same database software supplied with Microsoft Access. However, we do not use Microsoft Access itself. Data is stored in the file Rtgbills.mdb for RTG Bills and Rtgtimer.mdb for RTG Timer.