Introduction to Databases


Introduction to Database Creation



Probably before using a database, you must first have one. A database is primarily a group of computer files that each has a name and a location. Just as there are different ways to connect to a server, in the same way, there are also different ways to create a database.

To create a new database in SQL Server Management Studio, in the Object Explorer, you can right-click the Databases node and click New Database... This would open the New Database dialog box.


The Name of a Database

Probably the most important requirement of creating a database is to give it a name. The SQL is very flexible when it comes to names. In fact, it is very less restrictive than most other computer languages. Still, there are rules you must follow when naming the objects in your databases:

  • A name can start with either a letter (a, b, c, d, e, f, g, h, i, j, k, l, m, n, o, p, q, r, s, t, u, v, w, x, y, z, A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, L, M, N, O, P, Q, R, S, T, U, V, W, X, Y, or Z), a digit (0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, or 9), an underscore (_) or a non-readable character. Examples are _n, act, %783, Second
  • After the first character (letter, digit, underscore, or symbol), the name can have combinations of underscores, letters, digits, or symbols. Examples are _n24 or act_52_t
  • A name can include spaces. Example are c0untries st@ts, govmnt (records), or gl0b# $urvey||

Because of the flexibility of SQL, it can be difficult to maintain names in a database. Based on this, there are conventions we will use for our objects. In fact, we will adopt the rules used in C/C++, C#, Pascal, Java, and Visual Basic, etc. In our databases:

  • Unless stated otherwise (we will mention the exception, for example with variables, tables, etc), a name will start with either a letter (a, b, c, d, e, f, g, h, i, j, k, l, m, n, o, p, q, r, s, t, u, v, w, x, y, z, A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, L, M, N, O, P, Q, R, S, T, U, V, W, X, Y, or Z) or an underscore
  • After the first character, we will use any combination of letters, digits, or underscores
  • A name will not start with two underscores
  • If the name is a combination of words, at least the second word will start in uppercase. Examples are Countries Statistics, Global Survey, _RealSport, FullName, or DriversLicenseNumber

After creating an object whose name includes space, whenever you use that object, include its name between [ and ]. Examples are [Countries Statistics], [Global Survey], or [Date of Birth]. Even if you had created an object with a name that doesn't include space, when using that name, you can still include it in square brackets. Examples are [UnitedStations], [FullName], [DriversLicenseNumber], and [Country].

Practical Learning Practical Learning: Starting the Management Studio

  1. To launch Microsoft SQL Server, click Start -> (All) Programs -> Microsoft SQL Server 2005 -> SQL Server Management Studio
  2. On the Connect to Server dialog box, make the correct selections and provide the appropriate information, then click Connect
  3. In the Object Explorer, expand the server name followed by the Databases node
  4. Right-click Databases and click New Database...
  5. In the Name text box, type MotorVehicleAdministration

The Location of a Database

As you should be aware already from your experience on using computer, every computer file must have a path. The path is where the file is located in one of the drives of the computer. This allows the operating system to know where the file is so that when you or another application calls it, the operating system would not be confused.

By default, when you create a new database, Microsoft SQL Server assumed that it would be located at Drive:C:\Program Files\Microsoft SQL Server\MSSQL.2\MSSQL\Data folder. If you use the New Database dialog box of the SQL Server Management Studio, if you specify the name of the database and click OK, the interpreter automatically creates a new file, and appends the .MDF extension to the file: this is the (main) primary data file of your database.

Practical LearningPractical Learning: Checking the Location of the Data File

  1. Under the Location header, click the ellipsis button Ellipsis to open the Locate Folder dialog box
  2. Notice the file name and the location. Scroll up to the name (or letter) of the drive to see where the path starts
  3. Click Cancel

The Primary Size of a Database

When originally creating a database, you may or may not know how many lists, files, or objects the project would have. Still, as a user of computer memory, the database must use a certain portion, at least in the beginning. The amount of space that a database is using is referred to as its size. If you use the New Database dialog box, after specifying the name of the database and click OK, the interpreter automatically specifies that the database would primarily use 2MB. This is enough for a starting database. Of course, you can either change this default or later on you can increase it when necessary.

If you want to specify a size different from the default, if you are using the New Database to create your database, in the Database Files section and under the Initial Size column, change the size as you wish.

Practical LearningPractical Learning: Setting the Database File Size

  1. In the Database Files section, click the box under the Initial Size column header, click the up arrow of the spin button and increase its value to 5
  2. Click OK

Initial Size

Database Creation With Code



The command used to create a database in SQL uses the following formula:


The CREATE DATABASE (remember that SQL is not case-sensitive) expression is required. The DatabaseName factor is the name that the new database will carry. Although SQL is not case-sensitive, you should make it a habit to be aware of the cases you use to name your objects. Every statement in SQL can be terminated with a semi-colon. Although this is a requirement in many implementations of SQL, in Microsoft SQL Server, you can omit the semi-colon. Otherwise, the above formula would be


Here is an example:


To assist you with writing code, tin the previous lessons, we saw that you could use the query window.

Practical LearningPractical Learning: Creating a Database Using the SQL Query Analyzer

  1. To open the code editor, in the Object Explorer, right-click the name of the server and click New Query
  2. In the empty window, type:
    CREATE DATABASE RealEstate1;
  3. To execute the statement, press F5


Using a Wizard

To specify more options with code, Microsoft SQL Server ships with various sample codes you can use for different assignments. For example, you can use sample code to create a database. The sample codes that Microsoft SQL Server are accessible from the Template Explorer.

To access the Template Explorer, on the main menu, you can click View -> Template Explorer. Before creating a database, open a new query window. Then:

  • To create a new database using sample code, in the Template Explorer, expand the Databases node, then drag the Create Database node and drop it in the query window. The new database would be created in the server that holds the current connection
  • If you have access to more than one server, to create a database in another server or using a different connection, in the Template Explorer, expand the Databases node, right-click Create Database and click Open. In the Connect to Database Engine dialog box, select the appropriate options, and can click OK

With any of these actions, Microsoft SQL Server would generate sample code for you:

-- =============================================
-- Create database template
-- =============================================
USE master

-- Drop the database if it already exists
	SELECT name 
		FROM sys.databases 
		WHERE name = N'<Database_Name, sysname, Database_Name>'
DROP DATABASE <Database_Name, sysname, Database_Name>

CREATE DATABASE <Database_Name, sysname, Database_Name>

You would then need to edit the code and execute it to create the database. From the previous lessons and sections, we have reviewed some characters uch as the comments -- and some words or expressions such as GO, CREATE DATABASE, and SELECT. We will study the other words or expressions in future lessons and sections.

Database Maintenance



If you have created a database but don't need it anymore, you can delete it. It is important to know, regardless of how you create a database, whether using SQL Server Management Studio, code in the query window, or the Command Prompt, every database can be accessed by any of these tools and you can delete any of the databases using any of these tools.

As done with creating a database, every tool provides its own means.

SQL Server Management Studio

To delete a database in SQL Server Management Studio, in the Object Explorer, expand the Databases node, right-click the undesired database, and click Delete. A dialog box would prompt you to confirm your intention. If you still want to delete the database, you can click OK. If you change your mind, you can click Cancel.

Practical LearningPractical Learning: Deleting a Database in the SQL Server Management Studio

  1. In the Object Explorer, right-click MotorVehicleAdministration and click Delete
  2. In the Delete Object dialog box, click OK

Deleting a Database Using SQL

To delete a database in SQL Query Analyzer, you use the DROP DATABASE expression followed by the name of the database. The formula used is:


Before deleting a database in SQL, you must make sure the database is not being used or accessed by some one else or by another object.

Practical LearningPractical Learning: Deleting a Database With Code

  1. On the Standard toolbar, click the New Query button New Query
  2. To delete a database, type:
    DROP DATABASE RealEstate1;
  3. Press F5 to execute the statement

Database Routines


The Current Database

While writing code in a Query Window, you should always know what database you are working on, otherwise you may add code to the wrong database. To programmatically specify the current database, type the USE keyword followed by the name of the database. The formula to use is:

USE DatabaseName;

Here is an example:

USE GovernmentStatistics;

Refreshing the List of Databases

Some of the windows that display databases, like the SQL Server Management Studio, don't update their list immediately if an operation occurred outside their confinement. For example, if you create a database in the query windows, its name would not be updated in the Object Explorer. To view such external changes, you can refresh the window that holds the list.

In SQL Server Management Studio, to update a list, you can right-click its category in the Object Explorer and click Refresh. Only that category may be refreshed. For example, to refresh the list of databases, in the Object Explorer, you can right-click the Databases node and click Refresh.

Microsoft SQL Server Primary Settings



When you install Microsoft SQL Server, it also installs 4 databases named master, model, temp, msdb, and tempdb. These databases will be for internal use. This means that you should avoid directly using them, unless you know exactly what you are doing.

The System Databases

One of the databases installed with Microsoft SQL Server is named master. This database holds all the information about the server on which your MS SQL Server is installed. For example, we saw earlier that, to perform any operation on the server, you must login. The master database identifies any person, called a user, who accesses the database, about when and how.

Besides identifying who accesses the system, the master database also keeps track of everything you do on the server, including creating and managing databases.

You should not play with the master database; otherwise you may corrupt the system. For example, if the master database is not functionning right, the system would not work.

A Namespace

A namespace is a technique of creating a series of items that each has a unique name. For example, if you start creating many databases, there is a possibility that you may risk having various databases with the same name. If using a namspace, you can isolate the databases in various namespaces. In reality, to manage many other aspects of your database server, you use namespaces and you put objects, other than databases, within those namespaces. Therefore, a namespace and its content can be illustrated as follows:


Notice that there are various types of objects within a namespace.

The Schema of a Database

Within a namespace, you can create objects as you wish. To further control and manage the objects inside of a namespace, you can put them in sub-groups called schemas. Therefore, a schema is a group of objects within a namespace. This also means that, within a namespace, you can have as many schemas as you want:

To manage the schemas in a namespace, you need a way to identify each schema. Based on this, each schema must have a name. In our illustration, one schema is named Schema1. Another schema is named Schema2. Yet another schema is named Schema_n.

Inside of a schema, two objects cannot have the same name, but an object in one schema can have the same name as an object in another schema. Based on this, if you are accessing an object within its schema, you can simply use its name, since that name would be unique. On the other hand, because of the implied possibility of dealing with objects with similar names in your server, when accessing an object outside of its schema, you must qualify it. To do this, you would type the name of the schema that contains the object you want to use, followed by the period operator, followed by the name of the object you want to use. From our illustration, to access the Something1 object that belongs to Schema1, you would type:


There are two types of schemas you can use, those built-in and those you create. When Microsoft SQL Server is installed, it also creates a few schemas. One of the schemas is called sys.

The sys schema contains a list of some of the objects that exist in your system. One of these objects is called databases (actually, it's a view). When you create a database, its name is entered in the databases object using the same name you gave it.


The Database Owner

In the previous lesson, we saw that, before using a database, you must establish a connection with the server. You do this using a user account that can use the server. As we saw earlier, once the connection exists, you can create a database. In Microsoft SQL Server, the user who creates a database is referred to as the database owner. To identify this user, when Microsoft SQL Server is installed, it also creates a special user account named dbo. This account is automatically granted various permissions on the databases of the server.

Because the dbo account has default access to all databases, to refer to an object of a database, you can qualify it by typing dbo, followed by the period operator, followed by the name of the object.


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