A file-based database is a type of database that stores data in a file rather than in an information repository. This type of database is often seen as a more affordable and accessible alternative to a relational database (RDB), which uses complex data structures and usually requires additional software.

A file-based database has several benefits, including reduced complexity, portability, and scalability. Because of its simplicity, it is often used by individuals or small businesses that do not have the resources to maintain a relational database. Additionally, file-based databases are relatively easy to copy, transfer, and convert, making them attractive for data backup and migration.

A file-based database stores data as a series of flat files that are read and written from the file system. These files contain records, each of which is composed of several fields. Fields may include elements such as text, numbers, and dates. A file-based database uses an indexing technique to quickly find and retrieve records, similar to the index in a paper book.

One of the most common file-based database systems is the dBase system, which was developed in the 1970s and is still in use today. This type of database is well suited for small-scale applications and has been used to manage tasks such as customer relationship management and contact management.

Another way to view a file-based database is as a flat file system. This method of storage involves storing data in one or more plain text files, with each file containing a single table or collection of related objects. This type of storage is simple and efficient, but it is ill-suited for large datasets because it does not support data consistency, referential integrity, or other features of a relational database.

Despite its inherent simplicity, a file-based database does have some limitations. It does not support transaction processing and its search speed and scalability are limited. In addition, a file-based database is vulnerable to human error and requires regular backups to ensure data integrity – if a file is accidentally deleted, the data in that file is lost.

For these reasons, file-based databases are increasingly being supplanted by relational databases for managing large datasets. However, they remain a useful tool for smaller applications that do not require the features of an RDB.

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