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This chapter is from the book

What You Have Learned

In this chapter, you have been introduced to the concepts of normalization and the impact normalization has on database design. In most situations, a database needs to conform only to the third normal form. In some situations, however, the fourth and fifth normal forms are required. As you go through the process of normalization, you will be able to formulate which columns have to be stored in which tables. It is almost certain that your normalization efforts will lead to a few new tables that were not contemplated in your initial design efforts. This chapter and the previous chapter have outlined a roadmap and framework for conducting database analysis and design. Database analysis and design can be a complex area, so the goal in these two chapters has been to stress simplicity and common sense. To review, the following summarizes the framework:

  • Gather your requirements through interviews, documents, and existing systems.

  • From your requirements, identify the major things your database needs to track. These "things" are manifested as tables.

  • After the major tables have been identified, identify the relationships between the tables. This process can result in additional tables.

  • With the basics of your database in place, you have a framework to build on. Using normalization and information you have accumulated in your requirements-gathering efforts, data fields and additional tables can be identified.

  • Finally, ask the data model questions the business needs to know. This process determines the completeness of the model. If the model can't answer a question, you will need to repeat some or all of the previous steps.

This concludes the study of database analysis and design in a formal sense. You will now embark on the more tangible aspects of building and putting your database to work. Chapter 5, "Using Access to Build the Time Entry and Billing Database," takes you through the process of building the TEB Database in Access.

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