Tools, Application Environments, and Communications Facilities in DBMS

Tools in DBMS

Tools are often available to database designers, users, and the DBMS. CASE tools12 are used in the design phase of database systems. Another tool that can be quite useful in large organizations is an expanded data dictionary (or data repository) system.

In addition to storing catalog information about schemas and constraints, the data dictionary stores other information, such as design decisions, usage standards, application program descriptions, and user information.

Such a system is also called an information repository. This information can be accessed directly by users or the DBA when needed. A data dictionary utility is similar to the DBMS catalog, but it includes a wider variety of information and is accessed mainly by users rather than by the DBMS software

Application development environments, such as PowerBuilder (Sybase) or JBuilder (Borland), have been quite popular. These systems provide an environment for developing database applications and include facilities that help in many facets of database systems, including database design, GUI development, querying and updating, and application program development.

The DBMS also needs to interface with communications software, whose function is to allow users at locations remote from the database system site to access the database through computer terminals, workstations, or personal computers.

These are connected to the database site through data communications hardware such as Internet routers, phone lines, long-haul networks, local networks, or satellite communication devices. Many commercial database systems have communication packages that work with the DBMS.

The integrated DBMS and data communications system is called a DB/DC system. In addition, some distributed DBMSs are physically distributed over multiple machines. In this case, communications networks are needed to connect the machines. These are often local area networks (LANs), but they can also be other types of networks.

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