top of page

How to Design a Clean Database?



Database Design is a collection of processes that facilitate the designing, development, implementation and maintenance of enterprise data management systems. Properly designed database are easy to maintain, improves data consistency and are cost effective in terms of disk storage space. The database designer decides how the data elements correlate and what data must be stored. The main objectives of database design is to produce logical and physical designs models of the proposed database system.


Clean Database provides you the access to up-to-date and accurate information. Because a correct design is essential to achieving your goals in working with a database, investing the time required to learn the principles of good design makes sense. In the end, you are much more likely to end up with a database that meets your needs and can easily accommodate change.


A good database design is one that:

  • Divides your information into subject-based tables to reduce redundant data.

  • Provides Access with the information it requires to join the information in the tables together as needed.

  • Helps support and ensure the accuracy and integrity of your information.

  • Accommodates your data processing and reporting needs.


Below are some of the steps which can be implemented to design your Database Clean and easily Readable.


Determining the purpose of your database

It is a good idea to write down the purpose of the database on paper — its purpose, how you expect to use it, and who will use it. For a small database for a home based business, for example, you might write something simple like "The customer database keeps a list of customer information for the purpose of producing mailings and reports." If the database is more complex or is used by many people, as often occurs in a corporate setting, the purpose could easily be a paragraph or more and should include when and how each person will use the database. The idea is to have a well developed mission statement that can be referred to throughout the design process. Having such a statement helps you focus on your goals when you make decisions.


Finding and organizing the required information

To find and organize the information required, start with your existing information. For example, you might record purchase orders in a ledger or keep customer information on paper forms in a file cabinet. Gather those documents and list each type of information shown (for example, each box that you fill in on a form). If you don't have any existing forms, imagine instead that you have to design a form to record the customer information. What information would you put on the form? What fill-in boxes would you create? Identify and list each of these items. For example, suppose you currently keep the customer list on index cards. Examining these cards might show that each card holds a customers name, address, city, state, postal code and telephone number. Each of these items represents a potential column in a table.


Dividing the information into tables

To divide the information into tables, choose the major entities, or subjects. For example, after finding and organizing information for a product sales database, the preliminary list might look like this:




Turning information items into columns

To determine the columns in a table, decide what information you need to track about the subject recorded in the table. For example, for the Customers table, Name, Address, City-State-Zip, Send e-mail, Salutation and E-mail address comprise a good starting list of columns. Each record in the table contains the same set of columns, so you can store Name, Address, City-State-Zip, Send e-mail, Salutation and E-mail address information for each record. For example, the address column contains customers’ addresses. Each record contains data about one customer, and the address field contains the address for that customer.


The following list shows a few tips for determining your columns.

  • Don’t include calculated data In most cases, you should not store the result of calculations in tables. Instead, you can have Access perform the calculations when you want to see the result. For example, suppose there is a Products On Order report that displays the subtotal of units on order for each category of product in the database. However, there is no Units On Order subtotal column in any table. Instead, the Products table includes a Units On Order column that stores the units on order for each product. Using that data, Access calculates the subtotal each time you print the report. The subtotal itself should not be stored in a table.

  • Store information in its smallest logical parts You may be tempted to have a single field for full names, or for product names along with product descriptions. If you combine more than one kind of information in a field, it is difficult to retrieve individual facts later. Try to break down information into logical parts; for example, create separate fields for first and last name, or for product name, category, and description.


Specifying primary keys

Each table should include a column or set of columns that uniquely identifies each row stored in the table. This is often a unique identification number, such as an employee ID number or a serial number. In database terminology, this information is called the primary key of the table. Access uses primary key fields to quickly associate data from multiple tables and bring the data together for you.


Creating the table relationships

Now that you have divided your information into tables, you need a way to bring the information together again in meaningful ways. For example, the following form includes information from several tables.


Creating a one-to-many relationship

Consider this example: the Suppliers and Products tables in the product orders database. A supplier can supply any number of products. It follows that for any supplier represented in the Suppliers table, there can be many products represented in the Products table. The relationship between the Suppliers table and the Products table is, therefore, a one-to-many relationship.


Creating a many-to-many relationship

Consider the relationship between the Products table and Orders table.

A single order can include more than one product. On the other hand, a single product can appear on many orders. Therefore, for each record in the Orders table, there can be many records in the Products table. And for each record in the Products table, there can be many records in the Orders table. This type of relationship is called a many-to-many relationship because for any product, there can be many orders; and for any order, there can be many products. Note that to detect many-to-many relationships between your tables, it is important that you consider both sides of the relationship.


Creating a one-to-one relationship

Another type of relationship is the one-to-one relationship. For instance, suppose you need to record some special supplementary product information that you will need rarely or that only applies to a few products. Because you don't need the information often, and because storing the information in the Products table would result in empty space for every product to which it doesn’t apply, you place it in a separate table. Like the Products table, you use the ProductID as the primary key. The relationship between this supplemental table and the Product table is a one-to-one relationship. For each record in the Product table, there exists a single matching record in the supplemental table. When you do identify such a relationship, both tables must share a common field.


Refining the design

Once you have the tables, fields, and relationships you need, you should create and populate your tables with sample data and try working with the information: creating queries, adding new records, and so on. Doing this helps highlight potential problems — for example, you might need to add a column that you forgot to insert during your design phase, or you may have a table that you should split into two tables to remove duplication.


Refining the Products table

Suppose that each product in the product sales database falls under a general category, such as beverages, condiments, or seafood. The Products table could include a field that shows the category of each product.


Applying the normalization rules

You can apply the data normalization rules (sometimes just called normalization rules) as the next step in your design. You use these rules to see if your tables are structured correctly. The process of applying the rules to your database design is called normalizing the database, or just normalization.


Normalization is most useful after you have represented all of the information items and have arrived at a preliminary design. The idea is to help you ensure that you have divided your information items into the appropriate tables. What normalization cannot do is ensure that you have all the correct data items to begin with.




The Tech Platform

Σχόλια


bottom of page