Aspiring Web developers can turn to a number of databases that are available online for both beginners and intermediate skill levels. But with so many to choose from, it can be difficult to determine where to start. Here are five of the best.

 

MySQL

This is the first pick purely because this one is free. While there are a number of other commercial options, the free community version is ideal for beginners who want to dip their toes in and play around without having to pay for anything. This is one of the few options where getting started doesn't cost anything at all. Since they expanded, the platform is now available on almost all operating systems, making it a perfect option for those who aren't necessarily comfortable running a full Linux platform. The large online community also offers plenty of tips, tutorials, and articles about developing in MySQL.

 

Microsoft Access

While not free like MySQL, the inclusion of Access in Microsoft Office—a software suite tool that many developers are likely to have—is a big bonus and part of the reason it's part of this list. Similar to MySQL, Microsoft Access has a functional GUI to help you design your tables and tasks. Unfortunately, there are some limitations that can hamper anyone working on bigger projects due to the relatively small amount of concurrent connections that Access can handle before performance becomes noticeably bad. With that said, it's still a great tool for hobbyists or those learning the ropes.

 

Database.com (by Salesforce.com)

This is possibly a surprise inclusion for many. However, Database.com is easily one of the most intuitive developing tools on the Web right now. Others could even say that creating and developing using this platform can be too easy. This is a testament to the huge (and the size cannot be stressed enough) community of Force.com developers.

 

Google

While Database may have been surprising, this pick is rather obvious. This differs from the previous three platforms mostly in terms of scale. If you want to go swinging with the big boys, then you have to go with Google. This platform offers a huge ecosystem, as well as the ability to create a number of very powerful apps. On the downside, the system might turn off beginners or intermediates as the user interface is confusing and extremely unintuitive. This should still be considered a top five pick simply because of the massive potential offered by the platform.

 

Oracle Express Edition

Oracle Express features a lot of tools and a separate server application, which makes it handy. It also offers much more cross-platform support than the ones from Microsoft, as well as a lot of download options compared to other options. However, Oracle Express would only be recommended in a case of 'none of the above'.

 

Overall, the final decision on which one to choose depends on what you're doing. For Web development, it's always a good idea to select a database management system that corresponds to your development forte. For example, Access is good for ASP.NET while those developing in PHP are better off using MySQL or Oracle. 

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