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Database Design

A carefully thought-out database design forms the foundation for future success. These links will help you plan your database designs to maintain performance and integrity through future growth.

Database Naming Rules
It’s very tempting to simply come up with something off the top of your head and run with it, but that’s not a great practice. Either you or your successors will curse the difficult field names you created down the road. In this article, I offer my advice on creating logical, consistent names for database fields, tables, reports, stored...

Compound Key
What is a compound key? Find out in the About Databases glossary!

Default Values
Looking for a description of default values and constraints in databases? The About Databases Glossary provides an easy to understand description.

Should I Normalize My Database?
Database normalization is one of the sacred cows of application development. Every undergraduate programming course youve taken or book youve read likely preaches about the importance of normalizing databases in an almost religious fashion. Youre made to feel like failure to normalize a database is tantamount to violating one of the laws of...

Database Relationships
Looking for a definition of a database relationship? Check out the About Databases glossary definition!

Many-to-Many Relationships
Looking for a definition of many-to-many database relationships? Read our definition in the About Databases glossary!

One-to-Many Relationships
Looking for a definition of one-to-many database relationships? Read our definition in the About Databases glossary!

One-to-One Relationships
Looking for a definition of one-to-one database relationships? Read our definition in the About Databases glossary!

Normalizing Your Database: Third Normal Form (3NF)
In our first article, we looked at the basic requirements of 3NF. Here they are again to refresh your memory: meet the requirements of 1NF and 2NF and remove columns that are not fully dependent upon the primary key.

Normalizing Your Database: First Normal Form (1NF)
In this article, we begin our look at the first of three major normal forms -- first normal form (otherwise known as 1NF).

What are Database Dependencies?
Database dependencies are a topic that often confuses both students and database professionals alike. Fortunately, they are not that complicated and can best be illustrated through the use of a number of examples. In this article, we examine common database dependency types.

Database Keys
As you may already know, databases use tables to organize information. Each table consists of a number of rows, each of which corresponds to a single database record. So, how do databases keep all of these records straight? Its through the use of keys.

What is a Database?
Databases are designed to offer an organized mechanism for storing, managing and retrieving information. They do so through the use of tables. If youre familiar with spreadsheets like Microsoft Excel, youre probably already accustomed to storing data in tabular form. Its not much of a stretch to make the leap from spreadsheets to databases.

Object Oriented Databases
Looking for a definition of Object Oriented Databases? Find it here!

Stored Procedure Definition
Looking for a definition of the database term stored procedure? Find it here in the About Databases glossary.

Choosing a Primary Key
Databases depend upon keys to store, sort and compare records. If youve been around databases for a while, youve probably heard about many different types of keys primary keys, candidate keys, and foreign keys. When you create a new database table, youre asked to select one primary key that will uniquely identify records stored in that table.

Normalizing Your Database: Second Normal Form (2NF)
Second Normal Form allows you to enhance the normalization of your database. In this article, we explore the requirements of 2NF and the process of normalizing your database.

The ACID Model
All database management systems should share four characteristics: Atomicity, Consistency, Isolation and Durability.

Database Normalization Basics
Database normalization can save storage space and ensure the consistency of your data. Learn the basics in this introductory article.

Two-Tier or n-Tier?
What's best for your situation? Two-tier, three-tier or n-tier databases? Find out here!

Database Fundamentals
Confused by the world of databases? Looking for a concise description of how databases work? Look no further! This article introduces you to the wonderful world of databases.

Choosing a Database: Defining your Requirements
In the first installment of our database selection guide, we walk you through the process of defining the requirements for your database platform.

Choosing a Database: Desktop Databases
Is a DBMS like Microsoft Access, FoxPro, FileMaker Pro or Lotus Approach sufficient for your needs? Find out as we explore the world of desktop databases.

Choosing a Database: Server Databases
Does your organization require a server-based database like Oracle or Microsoft SQL Server? Join us as we explore the world of these high-performance systems.

Database Normalization Basics
Database normalization can save storage space and ensure the consistency of your data. Learn the basics in this introductory article.

Database Normalization: First Normal Form (1NF)
Learn how to ensure that your database meets the fundamental requirements of first normal form (1NF).

Database Normalization: Second Normal Form (2NF)
Learn how to ensure that your database meets the data reduction requirements of second normal form (2NF).

Top Five Desktop Databases
There are a lot of desktop databases on the market. Which ones are the cream of the crop? Find out here!

Case Study in Database Design
This case study in automating billing procedures at the University of North Carolina provides a great overview of the database design process.

Common Database Design Mistakes
Louis Davidson brings us an informative look at the most common mistakes made by database designers.

Database Design from MIT
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology offers lecture notes on database design including a case study from the City of Cambridge's Fire Department.

Database Normalization
Follow this link for a comprehensive look at database normalization. A great resource for database designers of all levels.

Database Normalization Course
Database normalization lecture slides from a design course at the University of California at Berkeley.

Entity-Relationship Diagrams
Simon Frasier University presents an illustrated introduction to entity-relationship (ER) diagrams.

Fundamentals of Relational Database Design
This lengthy article covers the fundamentals of RDBMS design. Topics covered include normalization, integrity checking, keys and business rules.

Full Functional Dependency
What is a full functional dependency? Find out here!

Transitive Dependency
What is a transitive dependency? Find out here!

Multivalued Dependency
What is a multivalued dependency? Find out here!

Trivial Functional Dependency
What is a trivial functional dependency? Find out here!

Relational Database Keys
Applied Information Science provides an in-depth tutorial on the various types of keys used in relational databases.

Database Relationships: An Introduction To Foreign Keys, Joins and E-R Diagrams
Relationships allow you to describe the connections between different database tables in powerful ways. Once youve described the relationships between your tables, you can later leverage that information to perform powerful cross-table queries, known as joins.

Entity Relationship Diagrams
Entity Relationship Diagrams

Using Microsoft Access in Your Small Business

Spreadsheets vs. Databases
Should you use a spreadsheet or a database? Learn more in this article!

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