In computer programming, source data or data source is the primary location from where data comes. The data source can be a database, a dataset, a spreadsheet or even hard-coded data. When data is displayed on a web page or application in a column-row format or other formats, it is retrieved from its data source and presented in the format defined in the code.
Computer applications can have multiple data sources defined, depending on its function. Applications like Oracle, SalesForce.com, and SAP all use databases as data sources. A common type of database is an SQL database, but some applications can use other types of databases, like Microsoft Access. While less stable, a series of spreadsheets can be used as a data source, but this is less common due to the chance of spreadsheets becoming corrupted as their size increases. Databases are often part of a larger data backup system and can be maintained more efficiently, thus making them more popular choices as data sources.