Beginning Database Design

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Beginning Database Design by Gavin Powell

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This book focuses on the relational database model from a beginning perspective. The title is, therefore, Beginning Database Design. A database is a repository for data. In other words, you can store lots of information in a database. A relational database is a special type of database using structures called tables. Tables are linked together using what are called relationships. You can build tables with relationships between those tables, not only to organize your data, but also to allow later retrieval of information from the database.


The process of relational database model design is the method used to create a relational database model. This process is mathematical in nature, but very simple, and is called normalization. With the process of normalization are a number of distinct steps called Normal Forms. Normal Forms are: 1st Normal Form (1NF), 2nd Normal Form (2NF), 3rd Normal Form (3NF), Boyce-Codd Normal Form (BCNF), 4th Normal Form (4NF), 5th Normal Form (5NF), and Domain Key Normal Form (DKNF). That is quite a list. This book presents the technical details of normalization and Normal Forms, in addition to presenting a layman’s version of normalization. Purists would argue that this approach is sacrilegious. The problem with normalization is that it is so precise by attempting to cater to every possible scenario. The result is that normalization is often misunderstood and quite frequently ignored. The result is poorly designed relational database models. A simplified version tends to help bridge a communication gap, and perhaps prepare the way for learning the precise definition of normalization, hopefully lowering the incline of the learning curve.


Traditionally, relational database model design (and particularly the topic of normalization), has been much too precise for commercial environments. There is an easy way to interpret normalization, and this book contains original ideas in that respect.


You should read this book because these ideas on relational database model design and normalization techniques will help you in your quest for perhaps even just a little more of an understanding as to how your database works. The objective here is to teach you to make much better use of that wonderful resource you have at your fingertips — your personal or company database.


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