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Getting Started with Database Design

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This chapter is from the book

Today's lesson is about the process whereby a business need can be modeled and therefore translated into the definition for a database system. What you'll learn today is central to the design of all relational databases.

In particular, you will learn:

  • How to analyze business needs in terms of business processes, business rules, and business objects

  • How to identify transactions and relationships

  • How to define an outline database design and specify application requirements that fulfill the business needs

  • How to normalize your data structure

After you have studied today's lesson, you should be able to take a business scenario and represent it in database form.

The Need for Business Analysis

Business analysis and top-down database design are often neglected, or shortcuts are taken, especially when the developer is eager to "get his hands dirty" and start building a system. But rushing into system development is like building a house without an architect: you're lacking the overall, but detailed, picture of what you're trying to achieve.

This lesson is about standing back from the keyboard and monitor, and thinking about what need your database will fulfill. Most databases are built with a business need in mind, and the satisfactory delivery of that need—perhaps the satisfaction of your client—is the primary goal.

If you build a system that's either inadequate or too sophisticated, the client is unlikely to thank you. Either it will fail to solve his problem or it will be too expensive to build. By better analysis of the requirement and careful design, you should be able to get the system to precisely fit the need.

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