The file-oriented approach is a traditional way of storing and processing data that was used before the advent of database management systems (DBMS). In this approach, each application has its own set of files that store data related to that application. For example, a payroll application may have files that store employee records, salary records, tax records, etc. A file-oriented approach has some advantages, such as simplicity, flexibility, and independence from other applications. However, it also has many disadvantages, such as data redundancy, data inconsistency, data isolation, data security, data integrity, and data access problems. In this article, we will discuss these disadvantages and how they can be overcome by using a database approach.
Data redundancy means that the same data is stored in more than one file. This can happen when different applications need to use the same data, but they store it in their own files. For example, a payroll application and a human resource application may both store employee records, but in different formats and with different fields. Data redundancy leads to wastage of storage space and increased maintenance costs.
Data inconsistency means that different copies of the same data do not match. This can happen when data is updated in one file but not in another file that contains the same data. For example, if an employee’s address is changed in the payroll file but not in the human resource file, then the two files will have inconsistent data. Data inconsistency can cause errors and confusion in data processing and reporting.
Data isolation means that data is scattered in different files and formats, making it difficult to access and combine. This can happen when different applications have different requirements and standards for storing and retrieving data. For example, a payroll application may store data in a binary format, while a human resource application may store data in a text format. To access or combine data from both applications, a special program or interface is needed. Data isolation can limit the functionality and efficiency of data processing.
Data security means that data is protected from unauthorized access and manipulation. This can be challenging in a file-oriented approach, because each file may have its own security mechanism or none at all. For example, a payroll file may be password-protected, while a human resource file may be accessible to anyone. To ensure data security, a consistent and comprehensive policy is needed for all files and applications.
Data integrity means that data is accurate and consistent with the real-world facts and rules. This can be difficult to maintain in a file-oriented approach, because each file may have its own integrity constraints or none at all. For example, a payroll file may enforce that an employee’s salary cannot be negative, while a human resource file may not have such a constraint. To ensure data integrity, a common and enforceable set of rules is needed for all files and applications.
Data Access Problems
Data access problems mean that data is not easily available or usable for various purposes. This can happen in a file-oriented approach, because each file may have its own access methods or none at all. For example, a payroll file may allow queries based on employee ID, while a human resource file may allow queries based on employee name. To access or use data for different purposes, such as analysis, reporting, or decision making, a flexible and powerful access method is needed for all files and applications.
A database approach is a modern way of storing and processing data that overcomes the disadvantages of the file-oriented approach. In this approach, data is stored in a centralized database that is shared by multiple applications. A database management system (DBMS) is used to manage the database and provide various services to the applications and users. Some of the benefits of using a database approach are:
- Data redundancy is reduced or eliminated by storing data only once in the database.
- Data inconsistency is avoided by ensuring that any update to the data is reflected in all copies of the data.
- Data isolation is overcome by storing data in a standardized format and structure that can be accessed by any application.
- Data security is enhanced by applying a uniform and comprehensive security policy to the database.
- Data integrity is maintained by enforcing a common and consistent set of rules and constraints to the database.
- Data access problems are solved by providing a flexible and powerful access method to the database.
According to javatpoint, “Database approach used in large systems which interrelate many files.” A database approach can improve the performance, reliability, scalability, and usability of data processing systems.
The central organizing tenant of the file-oriented approach is to store data related to specific applications. This approach has some advantages but also many disadvantages that can affect the quality and efficiency of data processing. A database approach is an alternative way of storing and processing data that overcomes these disadvantages by storing data in a centralized database that is managed by a DBMS. A database approach can provide many benefits to data processing systems and users.