Data can be stored in any kind of file using file handling routines (see file handling section). An alternative to storing data directly in a file is to instead store is in a database.
A database is designed specifically to handle, sort, search and manipulate organised data.
A database is a collection of data or information which is held together in an organised or logical way.
Because of the high organisation of a database, data can be retreived, sorted and updated very efficiently.
Adding and retrieving information in a database is done using a special-purpose programming language called SQL.
The rest of this section will describe the parts that make up a database and how SQL is used to manipulate its data.