XML Vs. Databases

I recently had occasion to consider whether to use XML files or a traditional database when constructing a Web-based application at work. It took a lot of careful consideration and research to decide which way I was going to go.

In the end, I chose to use XML files, and I will explain why.

Quick warning about MS Access data types

The other day, I discovered a minor inconvenience in the way MS Access handles the “Yes/No” (or boolean) data type.

You should be aware, when working with MS Access, that any “Yes/No” field in your table can only accept boolean true and boolean false (or “true” and “false”, “yes” and “no”, 1 and 0, etc.). It will not accept NULL.

Standard programming practice is, when there is not a “default” value for a field, to insert NULL if the user does not explicitly declare a value. Unfortunately, the fact that Access throws an error if you try to insert NULL into a “Yes/No” field really puts a damper on that logic.

As the title says, this is just a quick warning for people that may be using MS Access for their databases. I’m not sure if the same is true for MS SQL or not, but it’s obviously a non-factor with MySQL, since MySQL doesn’t offer a boolean data type.