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Designing Effective Database Systems

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Designing Effective Database Systems


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A clear, easy to follow guide to the messy practice of building an effective database, using lots of real-world examples.

° Many professional developers have never had formal instruction in the design of databases; this book gives them the guidance they need to build good databases easily.

° Approaches what can be a very dry topic with style and lucidity, with plenty of realworld examples and clear explanations.

° Author is well-known and well-respected in the field of database design.


  • Copyright 2005
  • Dimensions: 7x9-1/4
  • Pages: 384
  • Edition: 1st
  • Book
  • ISBN-10: 0-321-29093-3
  • ISBN-13: 978-0-321-29093-9

“Riordan covers core skills for any developer—database design and development—in a perfect amount of detail. This book should be on every professional developer’s reading list.”

Duncan Mackenzie, developer, Microsoft (MSDN)
“Designing a database is not a trivial subject. Riordan brings experience and clear explanations to a fundamental part of software development.”

Patrick Birch, database and technical writing consultant
“If you buy only one book on database design, make it this one. Riordan has a talent for explaining technical issues in simple language, without over simplifying.”

Brendan Reynolds, developer, Dataset IT Systems and Microsoft Access MVP
“A book that will expertly guide you in how to develop a database for a client— and how to do it right the first time!”

Kenneth D. Snell, Ph.D., ACCESS developer and Microsoft Access MVP
“Riordan has produced a unique book that brings together a formal, yet commonsense, approach to relational database design...and then goes further! Many database designers will find immense value in the steps to developing practical data warehouse designs. If you are seeking a framework for designing transactional databases, or want to step out into the world of analytical databases, Riordan’s book excels at bridging both worlds.”

Paul Irvine, vice president, engineering, Via Training
“Riordan takes a complex subject and makes it easy. If you’re over your head on a database design project, this book will help bail you out!”

Mike Gunderloy, contributing editor, Application Development Trends
“This book covers a wide range of database design and data modeling topics in a well-organized, easy to understand format.”

Amy Sticksel, Sticksel Data Systems, Inc.
“In Designing Effective Database Systems, Riordan’s style, wit, and attention to detail are outstanding.”

Sandra Daigle, Microsoft Access MVP
The Software Developer’s Step-by-Step Guide to Database Design

World-renowned expert Rebecca M. Riordan has written the definitive database design book for working developers who aren’t database experts. No matter how messy or complex your data challenge, Designing Effective Database Systems shows you how to design an effective, high-performance database to solve it.

Riordan begins by thoroughly demystifying the principles of relational design, making them accessible to every professional developer. Next, she offers the field’s clearest introduction to dimensional database modeling—practical insight for designing today’s increasingly important analytical applications.

One task at a time, the author illuminates every facet of database analysis and design for both traditional databases and the dimensional databases used for data warehousing, showing how to avoid common architectural pitfalls that complicate development and reduce extensibility. The book concludes with comprehensive, expert guidance on designing databases for maximum usability.

This book will teach you to

  • Understand relational database models, structures, relationships, and data integrity principles
  • Define database system goals, criteria, scope, and work processes
  • Construct accurate conceptual models: relationships, entities, domain analysis, and normalization
  • Build efficient, secure database schema
  • Master the elements of online analytical processing (OLAP) design: fact tables, dimension tables, snowflaking, and more
  • Architect and construct easy, efficient interfaces for querying and reporting
  • Learn from practice examples based on Microsoft’s Northwind sample database

Riordan has helped thousands of professionals master database design and development, earning Microsoft’s coveted MVP honor for her exceptional contributions. Nobody is more qualified to help you master database design and apply it in your real-world environment.

Sample Content

Online Sample Chapter

Effective Database Design: Choosing The Right Process

Downloadable Sample Chapter

Download the Sample Chapter related to this title.

Table of Contents




1. Basic Concepts.

    What Is a Database?

    Database Tools

    The Relational Model

    Relational Terminology

    The Data Model


2. Database Structure.

    Eliminating Redundancy

    Ensuring Flexibility

    Basic Principles

    First Normal Form

    Second Normal Form

    Third Normal Form

    Further Normalization


3. Relationships.


    Modeling Relationships

    One-to-One Relationships

    One-to-Many Relationships

    Many-to-Many Relationships

    Unary Relationships

    Ternary Relationships

    Relationships of Known Cardinality


4. Data Integrity.

    Integrity Constraints

    Implementing Data Integrity


5. Relational Algebra.

    Nulls and Three-Valued Logic (One More Time)

    Relational Operations

    Set Operators

    Special Relational Operators



6. Basic Dimensional Concepts.

    The Dimensional Database Model


    A Potted History of Business Intelligence


7. Fact Tables.

    The Structure of a Fact Table

    The Characteristics of a Fact Attribute


8. Dimension Tables.

    The Structure of a Dimension Table


    Changing Dimensions



9. The Design Process.

    Life Cycle Models

    The Database Design Process

    A Note on Design Methodologies and Standards

10. Defining the System Parameters.

    Determining the System Goals

    Developing the Design Criteria

    Determining the System Scope


11. Defining the Work Processes.

    Determining Current Work Processes

    Analyzing Work Processes

    Documenting Work Processes

    User Scenarios


12. The Conceptual Data Model.

    Identifying the Data Objects

    Defining Relationships

    Reviewing Entities

    Domain Analysis

    Restricting the Range of Values



13. The Database Schema.

    Systems Architectures

    Database Schema Components



14. Communicating the Design.

    Audience and Purpose

    Document Structure

    Executive Summary

    System Overview

    Work Processes

    Conceptual Data Model

    Database Schema

    User Interface

    Change Management



15. The Interface as Mediator.

    Effective Interfaces

    Interface Models

    User Levels

    Putting Users in Charge

    Minimizing the Memory Load

    Being Consistent


16. User Interface Architectures.

    Supporting the Work Processes

    Document Architectures


17. Representing Entities in Form Design.

    Simple Entities

    One-to-One Relationships

    One-to-Many Relationships


    Many-to-Many Relationships


18. Choosing Windows Controls.

    Representing Logical Values

    Representing Sets of Values

    Representing Numbers and Dates

    Representing Text Values


19. Maintaining Database Integrity.

    Classes of Integrity Constraints

    Intrinsic Constraints

    Business Constraints


20. Reporting.

    Sorting, Searching, and Filtering Data

    Producing Standard Reports

    Producing Ad Hoc Reports


21. User Assistance.

    User Levels

    Passive Assistance Mechanisms

    Reactive Assistance Mechanisms

    Proactive Assistance

    User Training






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