9efore proceeing "ith table esign, it;s important to unerstan "hat ou;re planning to o "ith our ata an ho" it "ill change o!er time# The assumptions ou make "ill affect the e!entual esign#
What Data Do You Need?
+hen esigning an application, it;s critical to unerstan the final results to ensure that ou ha!e all the necessar ata an kno" "here it comes from# For instance, "hat is the appearance of the reports, "here oes each piece of ata come from, an oes all the ata e7ist- othing is more amaging to a pro&ect than the reali4ation, late in the process, that ata is missing for an important report#nce ou kno" "hat ata ou nee, ou must etermine "here it comes from# 's the ata importe from another source- *oes that ata nee to be cleane or !erifie- *oes the user enter ata-/a!ing a firm grasp of "hat ata is re5uire an "here it comes from is the first step in atabase esign#
What re You !oing to Do "ith the Data?
+ill our users nee to eit the ata an, if so, ho" shoul the ata be isplae for them to unerstan an eit- Are there !aliation rules an relate lookup tables- Are there auiting issues associate "ith ata entr that re5uire keeping backups of eits an eletions- +hat kin of summar information nees to be isplae to the user- *o ou nee to generate e7port files- +ith this information, ou can en!ision ho" the fiels are relate to each other#
#o" Is Your Data $elated to %ach &ther?
.roup our ata into relate fiels $such as customer<relate information, in!oice<relate information, an so on%# 1ach group of fiels represents future tables# )ou shoul then consier ho" the are relate to each other# For instance, "hat tables are relate in a one<to<man relationship $for e7ample, one customer ma ha!e multiple in!oices%- +hat tables ha!e a one<to<one relationship $often a consieration to combine into one table%-
What Is !oing to #appen to the Data &'er Time?
After the tables are esigne, the impact of time is often not consiere an can cause huge problems later# Man table esigns "ork perfectl "ell for immeiate use# /o"e!er, man esigns break o"n as users moif the ata, as ne" ata gets ae, an as time passes# ften, e!elopers fin the nee to restructure their tables to accommoate these changes# +hen table structures change, all their epenencies $5ueries, forms, reports, coe, an so on% also nee to be upate# 9 unerstaning an anticipating change o!er time, a better esign can be implemente to minimi4e the problems#
(earn #o" to Use )ueries