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RDBMS Design: About the Book

 

For any Relational Database: Oracle / SQL Server / Access / DB2

For Business: Commerce / Science / Manufacturing / Distribution / e-commerce / Government and other areas

Aims

The success of any database application depends upon the effectiveness of the underlying data architecture. The aim of this book is to provide a practical guide to organising and executing a database design project for use with RDBMS products. Commencing with an introduction to the 'Enterprise Approach' it describes how to construct functional and logical data models. Life cycle methodology is introduced and explanation provided as to how it can be used to maintain sharp focus on the actual 'Business' requirements whether for conventional, technical or scientific applications. The book describes how to identify and resolve simple through to complex informational structures. It then details how to compact the logical model and transform it into a simplified flexible and maintainable RDBMS table architecture. Emphasis is placed on practical solutions and further guidance is given for issues such as de-normalisation, data integrity, security and quality checking. Guidelines and tips are provided at all stages and a method described for evaluating the overall effectiveness of a database design.

Promoting Good Design

The book aims at promoting best design practice for producing good 'generic' database architectures - facilitating greater flexibility for future development and ease of building applications software. [The authors have worked in all stages of design and implementation and are particularly keen on this latter point!] We stress the importance of basing analysis and design for database applications on a full comprehension of the Functions and Processes required by the business customer, that the final system is required to support....and not just the information content. We take the view data should be valued in much the same way as other, more tangible, assets and therefore, should be protected and maintained with to a high standard.

Readership

We anticipate that the book, which will compliment database design courses, will be of interest to the following audience:-

   - IT people wanting to learn Database Design Skills
   - Business Managers wanting to know about the process of database design 
   - Computer Science / Studies Students
   - Analyst/Designers wanting to upgrade their modelling skills
   - Analysts requiring skills to convert detailed business models into good database 
     architecture
Recommended Pre-requisite Skills

The book is aimed at a broad IT skill range. It starts with a gentle introduction into the subject of Analysis and Design and Life Cycle Methodologies and stresses the need for the Analyst / Designer to discover precisely what 'the business' actually requires of the system! As we progress through the chapters the actual nuts and bolts of analysis and database design are covered in detail. Although we hope that anyone with a keen interest in the subject will gain some benefit from reading the book, it would be helpful if the reader had some basic grounding in Business Analysis and/or some experience of IT or Data Processing (Spreadsheets, Programming, Databases etc.)

Adopted Styles

The subject of database design does cover a large variety of topics and, in truth, in order to become good at database design, there is no substitute for practical experience. We have, however, set out to produce a concise book which covers the main topic areas in sufficient detail for the would-be designer to gain as much relevant knowledge as possible without having to plough through too much text. To achieve this, we have kept theory to a minimum and maximised on common sense advice and solutions to not only the most common problems that are likely to be encountered in the design process but also more complex structures. We have made liberal use of highlighted Tips, Key Points, Rules, Conventions and Notes . Although there are only 180 pages, they are A4 format and dense in content! The book is richly illustrated with CASE generated diagrams.

Promoting Good Design across many RDBMS Products

Several of the major RDBMS vendors are mentioned BUT the book is aimed at no one supplier in particular. We believe that it will be of benefit to those working on a variety of relational platforms . The methods and techniques provided are of equal value to a single user PC application as they. are to a multi-user, client/server or web-enabled application.

We believe we have broken new ground in describing how to take the Logical model to a Physical model. I.e. How to transform both simple and awkward data structures (such as exclusive Arcs and Super-Type, Sub-Types) into practical table solutions. The thorny subject of 'De-normalisation' - when and when not to use it - in all its guises is described in some detail.

Table of Contents

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