What is a SharePoint list?
A list is essentially a container where you put data. At the most basic level, a list resembles a table in a traditional SQL database, but in SharePoint, it is more complex than that.
Unlike a traditional SQL database where the table defines what data you store in each row, each item in SharePoint has a schema defined by the type of content the item represents.
Each list has one or more content types attached, and it is really the content type that decides how the item appears, behaves, and what data or fields an item contains. For example, you can have a “Contact” item containing details like name, address, email, phone number, and so on, and you can have a “Task” item, which contains a task description, deadlines, dependent tasks, and so on.
An item in SharePoint is thus a more autonomous entity than in traditional databases. A list can contain any of these items as long as the item’s content type is associated with the list. You can have, if you wish, a list with both contacts and tasks.
As such, a list simply stores items like a container, and the items are themselves responsible for presenting the user with the required fields for creating, editing, and displaying data.