I'm sorry in advance if this is a silly question.
I'm currently working on getting something running where I can grab information from a server. My goal is to make the data I'm retrieving (or sending, for that matter) as small as possible -- both for speed and bandwidth.
To make matters more complicated, I'll be needing two sets of data:
Global: Something that doesn't house a lot of data, but needs to be synced every time. (News, status, etc.)
Personal: The user's data. (Points, scores, etc.) This isn't a lot of data either, but I thought that a database would be ideal for this. Doesn't this then mean that I'd have to retrieve the whole database, and then filter it? (i.e. transmitting too much data)
The server would be as small as possible (for cost), so it should only house data, and not do any (or almost any) of the work itself, so it would essentially just be storing the files.
Is a database the best way to go about this? Should I use two databases (global, personal)?
Would SQL be best for this? Or could I use REST and just grab the data I need (not the whole file)?
I'm sorry if this seems like a lot. I've been googling for a few days now, and I'm unsure of what I should do. If this is unclear, please say so and I'll try to clear things up. If it's too broad, I will narrow it down more.
EDIT: Thanks for the answers thus far, but they aren't quite what I'm looking for. So, I'll go into more detail.
I'm thinking of using Amazon for the server, mainly because it's pay-as-you-need and scalable. Furthermore, I've found this article which is specific to MonoTouch, but I'm still not sure what's easiest. I will not have a ton of data, so if I can grab either a small file, or query a database, that would be great. I'm all for using third-party libraries, if it's possible, but mainly I'm not sure how I should do what I want to do.
Sorry for being so thick. Obviously I can understand it better with example code, but it's not a requirement for an answer. (And I want to make it explicitly clear that I'm not asking for hand-outs.)