3 Steps For Quickly Building An Online Database In Five
Dominik Keller
Sep 5th, 2022

Turn CSV Files Into An Online SQL Database

Five is a great tool for building an online database. Inside Five, you can simply turn a CSV or Excel file into an online, MySQL database in just a few clicks. Simply follow these three steps:

1️⃣ Create your database table(s) inside Five,

2️⃣ Import your CSV and let Five take care of the field mapping and the primary keys,

3️⃣ Build a form to create, read, update or delete data inside your database.


Generally, Five gives you several powerful features to create and manage your MySQL database. Inside Five, you can:

✅ create a MySQL database from scratch,

✅ define data and display types for each database field from a wide variety of commonly used types, such as strings, floats, Booleans, radio buttons, ratings, etc.

✅ create relationships between tables without writing any code,

✅ import data from a CSV or Excel file into a MySQL database in just a few clicks,

✅ add new fields to existing databases and pre-fill these fields based on fixed values, existing fields, or SQL queries.

All of this happens in an intuitive, point-and-click interface that doesn’t require writing SQL. Five even generates the primary keys for you, so that each row inside a table can be uniquely identified. This ensures data integrity, even for large datasets.

Turning A CSV Into An Online Database With Five

Watch the video here: ⤵️

Sign up on https://five.co for a free download of Five’s development environment and build your first database today. Not sure how to get started? Check out our documentation on help.five.org for helpful tips and a quick start guide.

Five Reasons Why You Should Replace Your CSV With An Online Database

If you’re new to programming, MySQL online databases might seem intimidating at first. However, they are extremely powerful, easy to set up, and will not break, even when your dataset grows in size.

There are plenty of advantages of a MySQL online database over an Excel or CSV file. Just to give a few:

  1. Size: A MySQL database can store much more data than regular spreadsheets (Excel or Google Sheets). As of the time of writing, the maximum number of cells in a Google Sheet is 10 million. And once you’re nearing 10 million, expect performance to deteriorate quickly. A relational database stores data much more efficiently and can deal with much larger datasets than a spreadsheet can.
  2. Speed: Because of the way SQL databases are set up, data retrieval is much faster in a relational database than in a spreadsheet. Data retrieval and storage are extremely efficient through the use of (primary and foreign) keys that serve as unique identifiers for each row and that help connect related tables.
  3. Data integrity: Inside Five, you can easily assign Create / Read / Update / Delete (CRUD) permissions for different user roles and per database table. Let’s say, management is only allowed to read data, but not create, update or delete it – this can be easily set up inside Five. This also helps ensure data integrity. Neither Excel nor Google Sheets allows for such granular management of access rights and CRUD permissions.
  4. Data types: online databases use data types that define the permissible input for each cell. Five offers a wide range of standard data types, such as strings, floats, integers, etc. In addition, Five can help validate end-user input through custom display types. These can be regular expressions that help check whether an input is a valid email address. for example. Through the use of data and display types, it’s easy to avoid a “garbage in” type of situation where end-user input does not correspond to the expected input.
  5. Data Sciences: nowadays, most data is used for further analysis, be it through dashboards or more advanced data science concepts. Through the use of an online database, you have the right foundation to support your application’s growth from day one.

Last, Excel is simply not a safe way to store, retrieve or share data. For a full overview of all of the things that can go wrong, check out the horror stories website of the European Spreadsheet Risk Interest Group (yes, this is a real website)!

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