In this video, we will focus on the advantages and disadvantages of spreadsheets vs databases. What is a spreadsheet? It is an electronic ledger, an electronic version of paper accounting worksheets. It was created to facilitate people who needed to store their accounting information in tabular form digitally. So, it is possible to create tables in a spreadsheet. This is one reason some people believe spreadsheets and databases are interchangeable, while, in reality, they aren’t.
There are similarities between the two. Both can contain a large amount of tabular data and can use existing data to make calculations. Third, neither spreadsheets nor databases are typically used by a single person, so many users will work with the data. The differences between the two forms of data storage lie in the way these three characteristics are implemented. Ok. Imagine a spreadsheet. Every cell is treated as a unique entity. It can store any type of information – a date, an integer value, a string name. And then, not only can we have different types of values in various cells, but we can also apply a specific format to these cells. This is not inherent to databases. They contain only raw data. Each cell is a container of a single data value. It is the smallest piece of information there is. You must pre-set the type of data contained in a certain field. This feature prevents inadvertent mistakes – for example, in a field containing date values, should the user try to insert a string, the software will show an error and she will have the chance to correct herself. This won’t happen in Excel – if you insert a string in the column with date values, you wouldn’t obtain an error message, and Excel will store the string value.