What is the difference between a database and data structure?
A data structure is the internal representation of the data. It
may be a list, a linked list, a stack, heap or just about anything
else that can be immagined and represented internal to the machine.
For example, the data structure may be a linked list of control
blocks for a specific product that is progressing through an
automated machining facility. The control block may include
information regarding the product, the tolerances, date/time that
the product entered the different machining centers and the
inspectors who verified the product at different points along the
way. The data structure (control block) may or may not be stored in
a database during the manufacturing process. Some application
engineers may determine that the data needs to remain in memory to
address real-time issues and for speed concerns. On the other hand,
the data may be handed off to a database application for archiving.
A well defined database links the similar data elements together
and provides lookup "keys" that allow subsequent users to view and
manipulate the data.