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DBMS ConteXt
DB-Browser ConteXt. Graphical visualisation of data

ConteXt™ is a database management system for multi-user business and scientific applications.
This is a platform for storing, reporting, analysis and information delivery. It combines a distributed database, database browsing and analysis tools with a secure, web compatible, content management and delivery system.

ConteXt contains a comprehensive environment for users and database administrators. The system includes File Manager, Text and Binary editors, Database Builder and Form Builder. All resources are accessible via Java enabled Web browser. ConteXt includes software development kit for C++ and has a database browser providing secure Internet access. Operation system requirements: any clone of Unix and Windows NT. At present day the system was ported to Linux, FreeBSD, BSD/OS, Solaris and Windows XP/2000.

ConteXt has a network architecture and implements an original CONTEXT data model. ConteXt can be used as an embedded or a stand-alone database system. Using interactive database browser it is possible to create the completed user-oriented applications without programming on a client side.


Introduction:

ConteXt is a database management system and the technology that allows remote access to the database over the Internet. ConteXt also includes a high level Rapid Application Development (RAD) environment that allows design of the applications using ConteXt database.
The main purpose of DBMS ConteXt is manipulation of data in interactive mode. That makes it different from the majority of DBMS that are oriented towards processing of transactions. The primary target market for DBMS ConteXt are small and medium-sized companies that want to access their data from any location.

There are quite a few products designed for that particular market segment, such as dBase, Paradox, FoxPro and Access. The differences of ConteXt differs from such products are:
1. ConteXt is not a relational DBMS, it supports multitude of data models including HIERARCHICAL, NETWORK, RELATIONAL, OBJECT-ORIENTED and ENTITY-ATTRIBUTE-VALUE (EAV) data models.
2. ConteXt is platform independent. It works on Unix, Linux as well as on Windows platform.
3. The system has object oriented architecture and wide range of built in data types that significantly reduces application development time.
4. ConteXt supports access to data from any computer using LAN or Internet connections.
5. The system supports multi-user mode - simultaneous access to data from multiple workstations in the frameworks of separate sessions.
6. ConteXt can be used as an embedded and in-memory database for applications.

Advantages of ConteXt:

1. This technology allows development of interactive distributed applications in a fraction of time comparatively to the already existing on the market.
2. The system has unified standard interface that makes it very simple to develop applications and using it.
3. No client side installation required to access applications developed using this technology.
4. ConteXt provides access to various sources of information (including other DBMS) using proprietary interface.
5. ConteXt and its libraries are written using C++ that is standard for application development. Calling ConteXt functions does not require intermediate languages such as SQL.

One of the interesting using of this technology could be development of Web Interfaces that are based not only on the text files but will let access to the structured data (such as databases). In that case ConteXt can act as an interface to such data and be a source of that data. These features supported by its flexible data structures, reference data types (including references to remote databases) and availability of ready to use GUI.

Author: Alexander Lashenko Toronto, Canada

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