Hi. I want to ask if you could possibly give me any suggestions from your point of view for the following project. I can't understand it well. I only have very shallow knowledge of Databases. How can I start? What should I learn? If you have any suggestions at all or pointers to online resources, I'd be most grateful.
Web-based database management system for flexible scientific data.
A database management system is required to develop for managing flexible scientific data. The latter have rather hierarchic structure opposite to relational tables which makes most of the existing database management systems unsuitable. The system required should have a web interface and support some security for accessint/retrieving data.Databases should have a flexible structure that is the creation of new and modification of existing fields and branches should be possible by means of the system. There is no preference in terms of development tools. PHP, JSP, Java etc possible.
You will have a problem with "shallow knowledge of databases" to develop such a system. You will need some theoric base.
Search for Object Oriented Databases in google. It might be what you are looking for.
Hmm... It seems you should make it clear with the person who's in charge of the project whether he means a Relational Database Management System, which to me it seems to be the case.
And it also isn't clear whether the project understands the unsuitability of relational databases for the hierarchical structure of scientific data, but is willing to accept it (which means 'OK I know it is unsuitable, you may face some problems and tricky code, but we'll still be using a RDBMS). Or that you're to propose something else, possibly using an Object-Relational or Object Oriented database.
I am using Java and MySQL for this project. The "flexibility" means the structure. Supposed there has an old table in RDBMS. When create a new field, new table should be created and old one should be dropped. All records will remain the same. There are several functions inside: browse records, creation of new and modification of existing fields. Any ideas? Many thanks!
With all database software you can add or remove a field in a table without affecting the other data in the table... Browsing and creating records is trivial with all database software. If that's all you need to do and it's in tabular form there's tons of free software out there to do exactly what you want in a graphical form.