IN THIS CHAPTER
Understanding data sources
Using the Data Source Library task pane
Working with non-SharePoint data sources
Exploring SharePoint data sources
Working with the Data Source Details task pane
Finding data sources
It's the nature and functionality of Web sites to provide information and present data in an easily understandable, intuitive, and attractive manner. Data is a record of information about something that needs to be stored for analysis or retrieval at a later point in time.
The standard storage mechanisms that current database technologies use for storing data don't keep it in a format that's easily comprehensible. You may find enormous tables containing millions of rows of data or large XML documents that may be even more difficult to read. The reasons are obvious: Storing data requires space (such as hard drives, magnetic tapes, etc.), and the cost of data storage increases as you use more space. Inherently, the success of software designed to store data lies in its ability to squeeze data as much as possible to use less hardware and, at the same time, quickly uncompress it for timely retrieval.
Such compression leaves data in sort of an encapsulated format that makes business decisions, analysis, and reporting difficult. The ability of a Web site to display data in an attractive way, thereby easing these operations, decides its success.