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Database Applications Types and Examples

Most modern applications nowadays interact with some sort of a data source, either indirectly by using web services such as Facebook API, or more directly via local access using database drivers.

This article will provide an overview of various types of applications that are heavily dependent on databases. We will also explain the differences between a database system and a database application.

Table of Contents:

What Are Database Applications?

“Database application” can mean two things:

One: It can refer to software running a database system. MongoDB Server or SQL Server are both software that provide the following:

  1. Efficiently store and retrieve data from a file system to a network client.
  2. Offer rich capabilities for querying and manipulating data from a variety of drivers.
  3. Secure and authorize the access to the stored data
  4. Scale
  5. Provide fault tolerance and recovery (including backups) for our data

Two: It can refer to applications that are heavily coupled to a specific database and built to provide elements of that database to the end user. Some examples of such applications include:

  • Online encyclopedias (Wikipedia)
  • Social media websites (Facebook)
  • CRM systems (Salesforce)
  • Email systems (Gmail)
  • E-commerce websites (Amazon)

The Purpose of Database Applications

The main purpose of database applications is to provide a way for data to be consumed either by end users (via UI) or other higher-level applications (via APIs). A database application can be used for storing or retrieving data, processing transactions, or various machine learning calculations.

For example, Facebook has a user database with which it authenticates users when they log into their Facebook account. However, Facebook also provides the ability to consume their user database by another application. This is done via a secure API Facebook exposes, and you could probably see this in many of today's platforms’ authentication methods.

Another example is MongoDB Atlas, a Data-as-a-Service platform. Atlas clusters provide a variety of ways to consume the data — for example, via a driver, a Realm serverless function, or even via MongoDB Charts to provide dashboards based on data stored in Atlas.

Database Application Types (and their Pros and Cons)

Organizations and database administrators have to understand the pros and cons of the different database applications and database software out there. Databases can be categorized by the way they structure and consume data. Some use a normalized model and relations (Relational) while others use nested objects (Documents and some NoSQL flavors).

Let’s look at the following list:

Database Application TypeProsCons
Database Software - Document Store (eg., MongoDB)
  • Flexible schema
  • Rich query language
  • Built-in resilience and scalability
  • Rich indexing strategies
  • Growing support communities and open-source projects
  • Transaction processing
  • Learning curve for SQL-oriented developers
  • Relational schemas will need a redesign to work optimally
Database Software - Other NoSQL
  • Distributed systems
  • More modern data stores

  • Schemas are not flexible
  • Small support communities
  • Not general purpose - good for narrow use cases

  • No transaction processing
Database Software - Relational Databases (SQL)
  • SQL-oriented
  • Large communities
  • Owned by large companies
  • Expensive to start
  • Usually requires strong hardware to start
  • Not designed for the cloud era
Database Application Providers - (Amazon, Facebook)
  • Offer robust services
  • Cloud-oriented
  • Not flexible in the API
  • Limited ability to work with raw data
  • Not a pure database software

How to Choose the Right Database for Your Application

There is no one-stop shop for this question and the decision should depend on the use case of the application under consideration. Having said that, MongoDB and MongoDB Atlas are a general purpose, enterprise-grade database. Therefore, they cover a wide range of use cases and should be a great fit for almost all modern applications.

A good way to start is by understanding how NoSQL databases like MongoDB work compare to SQL.

Using MongoDB Atlas as a Web-Based Database Application

MongoDB Atlas, MongoDB’s Data-as-a-Service platform, is an ideal candidate for web applications. The document model allows websites to interact with JSON’s flexible data model, which is a natural fit for the vast majority of web frameworks. MongoDB Drivers cover popular web-based languages including Javascript, PHP, Ruby, Python, Go, and many more.

MongoDB Atlas and MongoDB Server support complex aggregation processing as well as built-in full transaction support to support a wide range of use cases to manipulate data.

Additionally, Atlas is a fully managed service deployed on three of the major clouds (AWS, Azure, GCP) which makes it a cloud database. Atlas can elastically grow as our web application expands. The network configuration and security are optimized for internet- and cloud-based product integration.

Next Steps: Ready to try for yourself?

Now that you know the fundamental concepts that form the basis of database applications, visit how to build a full-stack MERN application and see what database applications you can make with MongoDB.

Building with MongoDB products allows you to easily consume data-oriented services, making your applications focus on their specific purpose rather than working for the database.


What is a database application?

A database application can refer to two main concepts:

  • A software that work as a database management system, also known as a DBMS (eg., MongoDB, mysql, Oracle).
  • An application that heavily relies on database access, and its main purpose is to provide the data to the end-users or other applications (eg., Facebook, Wikipedia, Amazon).

What are the different types of databases?

There are nearly a dozen different types of databases in use today. Some of the more commonly used types of database management systems (DBMS) include the following: hierarchical databases, relational databases, non-relational databases.

Which feature is a component of a database application?

Database applications can have a lot of features and abilities, but the main ones are to:

  • Store and retrieve data efficiently.
  • Provide a rich language API to interact with the data.
  • Secure and allow a scalable access to the data as it grows.

What are some examples of database applications?

Database software (DBMS):

  • MongoDB
  • MySQL
  • Oracle
  • SQL Server

Database applications:

  • Wikipedia
  • Facebook
  • CRM systems
  • Account management systems
  • Amazon
Ready to get started?

Start free today to see what database applications you can make with MongoDB Atlas.