So far you have learnt the general characteristics of databases without going into much detail about specific applications for designing them.
The first databases were built together with large mainframe computers in the 60s, e.g. IBM System/360. Those were not the days of PCs, therefore these databases required a highly specialized personnel. Although the old computers' hardware was unreliable, they were immeasurably slower and had less storage capacity, one feature of databases still remains most attractive: the data access by many users through a network.
In the 70s scientists formed the theory of relational databases (terms like: table, record, column (field) and relationality and many others). On the basis of this theory IBM DB2 and Oracle databases were created, which have been developed and used till today. In the late 70s the first PCs were constructed. Their users could (gradually) utilize many types of applications, including those for database construction.
When it comes to large databases in companies, the situation hasn't changed: they still require powerful computers or computer complexes called clusters. This goes, however, beyond the topic of this manual.
In the area of “accessible” databases with graphic user interface for PCs you can choose from the following:
DBase - a tool for databases operation for DOS popular in the 80s. Files in DBase format are still used in some specific cases due to their simplicity.
FoxPro - an application similar to DBase (early 90s). After being taken over by Microsoft, graphic user interfaces were introduced and therefore it is used for creating databases on PCs. This product is still offered, though seems a bit obsolete.
Microsoft Access - an application for databases (data and graphic interface design) with many simplifications, therefore suitable for beginners, designed in the late 80s, based on 16-Bit Architecture. This product is offered and widely used till today, especially by small companies, where efficiency and multiuser requirements are not very demanding.
FileMaker - popular application similar to MS Access in simplicity, operating on Windows and Macintosh platforms, offered since 1985.
Kexi - a multiplatform application (UNIX®/Linux®, Windows, Mac® OS X) designed in 2003, developed according to OpenSource principles, part of the global KDE community, that among other things provide a graphic environment for UNIX®/Linux® systems. A significant contributor to Kexi's development is the OpenOffice Poland company.