What makes up a database system? Heaps of things, that is what - tables, fields, rows, columns, indexes, keys, and much more. Before we look at what each database system provides and how to use various features, we first need to define what each part of a database is and what it does.

The most basic principle to understand is that you do not have to understand how most features are implemented, merely how you use them. This is the primary advantage to using databases!

Before we begin, I'd like to apologise for the fact that this whole chapter goes quite slowly. Databases are a crucially important topic in PHP, and, although they are simple, I have chosen to observe Freeman's rule: "Nothing is so simple that it cannot be misunderstood".

So, although we take things slowly in this chapter, I hope I do not leave anyone behind!


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