Since databases can contain lots of information, you need a way to find just the data you want to display on a particular web page. Even though your company keeps information about its products, customers, suppliers, and so on in one database, you may want to see only, say, an alphabetical list of your customers. After grabbing that list, you might want to display a particular customer’s contact information, or perhaps the list of products that person bought.
To retrieve specific information from a database, you start by creating what’s called a recordset. A recordset—also called a database query—is a command you send to a database asking for particular information: “Hey Database, show me all the customers listed in the Customers table.” Executing commands like this is the heart of many database operations you’ll ask Dreamweaver to perform (and a piece of jargon you can’t escape in the dynamic web page business).
Recordsets let you retrieve specified columns in a database. They can also sort their results alphabetically or in numerical order, so you can, for example, view a list of products from least expensive to most expensive. In addition, a recordset can zero in on a specific record based on information a visitor submits to the site or on information that comes packaged as part of a URL. In essence, recordsets let you winnow down massive amounts of database information in a fraction of a second—a powerful benefit, indeed.