Using a database to store content
Using a database to store content allows you to separate your websites design from the content you want to display to users of the site. Instead of writing individual HTML files for every page, you only need to write a page--or template--for the different kinds of information you want to present. Using a database, you can provide new content to a website by simply uploading content into a database and then having the website retrieve that content dynamically in response to a users request. A key advantage of storing content information in a database is the ability to update information in a single source, and then populate that change throughout the website without having to search through the pages that might contain the information and manually edit each page.
Databases come in many forms depending upon the amount and the complexity of the data they must store. A database commonly installed on Windows computers is Microsoft Access. If you are new to databases, Access provides an easy-to-use interface that lets you work with database tables. While you can use Access as a data source for most website applications, be aware that Access has a file size limitation of 2 gigabytes (GB), and is limited to 255 concurrent users. For this reason, Access is a reasonable choice for website development and corporate workgroups. However, if you anticipate a large user community accessing the site, plan on using a database designed to support your sites intended user base.
For websites requiring a greater degree of flexibility in their modeling of data, and the ability to support large, concurrent user communities, server-based relational databases (typically referred to as RDBMS) are commonly used. Common relational databases used to store content for web-based applications and dynamic sites include MySQL, Microsoft SQL Server, and Oracle.
Whatever database you use to support your website, you can use Macromedia Dreamweaver 8 to design web forms to insert, update, or delete data from the database.
To learn more about databases, see Beginners Guide to Databases.