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Martin Parkinson


This is an example of my 'plain explanatory style'. It is an excerpt from some
documentation I produced as I was about to finish a contract in 2006 -
my colleagues were very un-techie.
I've worked in IT as both a trainer and technical author.


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Databasics

Basic Information on our database setup

What are the data files actually 'written in'?

They are SQL server files

Passing quickly over the question of what that means, where are these 'SQL' files?

On our server [name of server]

Is that on the internet?

Not exactly - [name of server] is where we keep all our data. It's the server of the small network that you log into when you start your pc.

Then why do I use internet explorer to look at our database?

Internet explorer is used to enable one to look at a certain type of file - 'HTML' files . HTML files are what Websites are 'written in' (bit of a simplification but not exactly untrue) but, like other files, they can be stored on any computer - in this case on our server.

Wait a minute. You just told me that our database was written in something called 'SQL server'- our information is kept in SQL files. But now you're telling me they're written in something else called 'HTML' - so which is it?

The files on the server are in SQL, but you are seeing HTML files when you look at them using internet explorer. This is because there's a program called ASP which kind of sits on top of the SQL files and generates HTML files from them which enables us to look at the stuff in the SQL.

When you makes a change to the Database the process operates in reverse direction.

Is there a way of looking at these SQL files more directly - without the 'interpretation' of ASP?

Yes - you can look at them using Access and run ad hoc queries and batch alterations using Access.

The doc "New Client Database System", which follows, describes the relationship between SQL, ASP and Access in more detail (and more accurately - ASP is not actually a 'programme')

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