database programming terminologyA polyglot is a person who speaks more than one language. Europeans famously expect their children to master native tongues plus English, and usually another world language. Some famous polyglots include Ziad Fazah, who claims mastery of 59 languages, and John Von Neumann, the famous mathematician and programming genius who also knew seven languages.

The only place “polyglot” does not mean a multilingual person is in the world of database programming, where a “polyglot” is a program or script written in multiple programming languages. Database programming is full of interesting, quirky and, frankly, sometimes snarky terminology. 

What are Some Database Programming Languages

Database programming uses multiple languages to achieve the same goal of a searchable database for applications large and small, trivial and grand: 

  • Functional languages—Haskell, Id, ML  and Ur
  • Logic-based languages—F-logic, Logtalk and Prolog
  • Low-level languages—C, Java Virtual Machine or a machine language
  • Object-oriented languages—C++, Java, .NET, Ruby, and Visual Basic
  • Scripting languages—Action Code Script, Lisp, JavaScript, Python and Scala

Database Programming Terms From B to W

  • BLOB—A Binary Large Object, or BLOB, is how databases store photos, audio files, scans of that three-year-old’s drawing of Dad, and other unstructured data. 
  • Column—A column (also called a field) represents one attribute of a record in a table. A name, cell phone number or shoe size could be a column or field.
  • CRUD—Create, Read, Update and Delete, which is what you do with databases as a database programmer. You deal with a lot of CRUD, but the good kind: CRUD, not crud. 
  • Data—Data are the bits and bytes, the quantities, characters, or symbols on which operations are performed by a computer. The singular of data is datum, but almost nobody remembers that. 
  • Database—Your Garbage Pail Kids trading cards in their protective sleeves and notebooks is a database, but so is a company’s server database with all the company records, client histories, invoices and financial data. A database is any organized collection of information that can be easily tapped to retrieve specific information, like the value of that Adam Bomb card. 
  • Dongle—Any small bit of hardware attached to a computer, like a memory stick, Bluetooth device, proprietary software access key or video connector. Databases can be easily downloaded using your dongle, to be physically moved to another computer elsewhere, where you insert your dongle and upload the data.
  • ETLExtract, Transform and Load; a database process that extracts data, transforms the data into a newly usable form, and then writes the data to the new target database.  
  • Field—See Column.
  • Food Court—A consolidated server with a myriad of unrelated databases, typically not known for high quality and desperately needing a qualified database programmer to clean things up.  
  • Groundhog Day—An ETL task in which all the data is reloaded every day rather than just reloading changed data; this inefficient method is typical of a move made by a Wizard of Oz. 
  • Record—Also called a row, a record is an individual entry in a table in a database. 
  • Row—In database programming, a row is a Record. In boating, row means your outboard motor has died.
  • SQL—Structured Query Language is a special-purpose programming language for managing data held in a relational database management system (RDBMS). 
  • Table—In database programming, a table is a file with specific, structured data. Most databases are built of multiple tables to store all the information in inter-related, manageable chunks. 
  • Wizard of Oz—A database administrator who makes everyone (besides database programmers) believe he or she is automating everything when, in fact, she or he is just doing workarounds on the fly. Database programmers know duct tape and wasted energy is holding the database together (see Groundhog Day). 

Go Beyond Words with an Education in Database Programming

To get the full impact of database programming jargon, whether serious or snarky, silly or sublime, you need thorough training to become a database programmer. An excellent beginning could be with ECPI University’s 2.5-year program to earn a Bachelor of Science Degree in Computer and Information Science with a concentration in Database Programming. Contact ECPI today to learn more. It could be the Best Decision You Ever Make!

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