Definition

table

In computer programming, a table is a data structure used to organize information, just as it is on paper. There are many different types of computer-related tables, which work in a number of different ways. The following are examples of the more common types.

I) In data processing, a table (also called an array) is a organized grouping of fields. Tables may store relatively permanent data, or may be frequently updated. For example, a table contained in a disk volume is updated when sectors are being written.

2) In a relational database, a table (sometimes called a file) organizes the information about a single topic into rows and columns. For example, a database for a business would typically contain a table for customer information, which would store customers' account numbers, addresses, phone numbers, and so on as a series of columns. Each single piece of data (such as the account number) is a field in the table. A column consists of all the entries in a single field, such as the telephone numbers of all the customers. Fields, in turn, are organized as records, which are complete sets of information (such as the set of information about a particular customer), each of which comprises a row. The process of normalization determines how data will be most effectively organized into tables.

3)A decision table (often called a truth table), which can be computer-based or simply drawn up on paper, contains a list of decisions and the criteria on which they are based. All possible situations for decisions should be listed, and the action to take in each situation should be specified. A rudimentary example: For a traffic intersection, the decision to proceed might be expressed as yes or no and the criteria might be the light is red or the light is green.

A decision table can be inserted into a computer program to direct its processing according to decisions made in different situations. Changes to the decision table are reflected in the program.

4)An HTML table is used to organize Web page elements spatially or to create a structure for data that is best displayed in tabular form, such as lists or specifications.

 

Getting started with tables
To explore how the table is used in the enterprise, here are some additional resources:
FAQ: Creating and altering SQL Server tables: Whether you want to select rows, move records, track activity or perform various other table-related tasks in SQL Server, consult these FAQs.
Special data types - the table: Learn about the table data type in SQL Server.
Temporary tables in SQL Server vs. table variables: Once you've written your T-SQL code, you'll need a table in which to store data temporarily. Learn about your four table options in SQL Server.
Creating SQL Server tables: A best practices guide: When creating SQL Server tables, follow these quick tips for defining filegroups, indexes, key constraints and partitions to improve SQL Server performance.
Table partitioning with SQL Server 2005: SQL Server 2005 has upgraded table partitioning and improved database performance. Learn to switch partitions and populate fact tables with zero downtime.

This was last updated in September 2005
Posted by: Margaret Rouse

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