Designing Effective Database Systems

Designing Effective Database Systems

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by Rebecca M. Riordan

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ISBN-10: 0321290933

ISBN-13: 9780321290939

Pub. Date: 01/10/2005

Publisher: Addison-Wesley

“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 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.

Product Details

Publication date:
Addison-Wesley Microsoft Technology Series
Edition description:
Safari Enabled
Product dimensions:
7.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.80(d)

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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Designing Effective Database Systems 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Relational databases have a well developed theory underpinning them. Often described in formal maths language that can be offputting to a newcomer without that background. The merit of Riordan's book is to show that you can often understand and design such databases, without recourse to such formalisms, which greatly expands the potential audience for the book. There's scarcely an equation here. But you can understand the essence of different normal forms and what Boyce and Codd contributed to shoring up this field. Instead of equations, the author demonstrates what may be more intuitive to many of you - Modelling diagrams that show relationships in a visual form that is easy to grasp. You can see how a diagram can convey the essence of many relationships, and thus form the skeleton of a database. This visual understanding may be one of the most useful teaching results of the book. Riordan uses Microsoft packages to demonstrate how to make example databases. Commendably, she writes broadly enough that you should be able to recast these examples in another database if you wish.