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FrontBase Documentation

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Updated: 20-Nov-2000
Table of Contents

1. Introducing FrontBase

FrontBase is a scalable relational database server. A few general concepts will help explain what that means.

Client/server architectures are familiar to anyone who has used the world wide web. With the web, your browser (the client) makes a request for a page from some web site (the server). The web site processes the request and delivers a result (the web page). The FrontBase server is similar in some ways to a web server. It listens for requests from FrontBase clients, processes requests, and returns results.

However, FrontBase is a relational database server. While a web server typically serves web pages for display in a browser, FrontBase handles requests to store and retrieve data. By implementing the "relational" model, FrontBase stores data in application-defined tables, among which, application-defined relations may exist. Tables are defined by their columns. For example, a phone book table might have the following columns: name, phone_number. The actual data is entered in rows of a table. A row in the phone book table might have "Joe Blow" in the name column and "555-1212" in the phone_number column.

FrontBase is highly scalable, which means it can handle very large data sets and high request loads. The size of a data set is typically described by the number of rows in a table. Using its column indexing features, FrontBase can efficiently insert and lookup data in tables with millions of rows. In applications with high request loads, FrontBase's replication and clustering features can be exploited to run the same database on multiple servers.

FrontBase implements the industry-standard SQL 92 query language. FrontBase clients use this language to store and retrieve data on the server. They also use the language to manage users, tune performance, and do other administrative tasks. FrontBase implements the SQL 92 standard quite strictly, but also has extensions to handle FrontBase-specific issues. FrontBase uses other standards, such as TCP/IP for client/server communication and Unicode for character value storage.

With its features, scalability, and adherance to standards, FrontBase is the ideal database for today's custom client/server applications and for building dynamic web sites. Application developers can use FrontBase's FBCAccess C library, JDBC and ODBC adaptors, and other interfaces to develop custom applications. They can use FrontBase's PHP, Perl, and WebObjects adaptors to develop dynamic websites.

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