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There are different degrees of normalization, but in general, relational databases should be normalized to the "third normal form". Simply put, this means that the attributes in each table should "depend on the key, the whole key and nothing but the key". An example of a de-normalized database table is provided below. The database designer has assumed that there will never be a need to have more than two order items in any one order: By moving repeating groups of attributes to a separate database table, the database design becomes more flexible. A single order can now support any number of order items; not just just two. The primary key (PK) of the Order Item table is the "Order Nbr" (represented by the relationship) plus the "Order Item Nbr": The "Order Item Description" field is dependent on the "Order Item Code"; not the unique identifier of the Order Item Table (i.e. "Order Nbr" + "Order Item Nbr"). By creating a classification table, the database become even more flexible. New codes can easily be added. The "Order Item Description" for a given code can easily be altered should the need ever arise (e.g. "blue widget" => "light blue widget"): A RDBMS alone will not solve all data management issues. A good data analyst and/or database analystis needed to design a flexible and efficient relational database.
In the original member list, each member name is followed by any databases that the member has experience with. Some might know many, and others might not know any. To answer the question, "Who knows DB2?" we need to perform an awkward scan of the list looking for references to DB2. This is inefficient and an extremely untidy way to store information. Moving the known databases into a seperate table helps a lot. Separating the repeating groups of databases from the member information results in first normal form. The MemberID in the database table matches the primary key in the member table, providing a foreign key for relating the two tables with a join operation. Now we can answer the question by looking in the database table for "DB2" and getting the list of members.
Eliminate Redundnt Data( 2NF )
In the Database Table, the primary key is made up of the MemberID and the DatabaseID. This makes sense for other attributes like "Where Learned" and "Skill Level" attributes, since they will be different for every member/databasecombination. But the database name depends only on the DatabaseID. The same database name will appear redundantly every time its associated ID appears in theDatabase Table. Suppose you want to reclassify a database - give it a different DatabaseID. The change has to be made for every member that lists that database! If you miss some, you'll have several members with the
To achieve this. even though 20 past members were from IBM! . This is an update anomaly. suppose no members from the IBM were currently stored in the database. and "MemberDatabase" which lists the databases for each member. there would be no record of its existence. and the database will not be stored anywhere! This is a delete anomaly. Eliminate Columns Not Dependent On Key( 3NF ) The Member table satisfies first normal form . Now we can reclassify a database in a single operation: look up the DatabaseID in the "Database" table and change its name.since it doesn't have a multivalued key. The motivation for this is the same for secondnormal form: we want to avoid update and delete anomalies. His records will be removed from the system. Since they describe a company.it contains no repeating groups. separate the attributes depending on both parts of the key from those depending only on the DatabaseID. To avoid these problems. To achieve third normal form. It satisfies secondnormal form . With the previous design. But the key is MemberID. This results in two tables: "Database" which gives the name for each DatabaseID. not a member. they must be moved into a separate table.same database under different IDs. Or suppose the last member listing a particular databaseleaves the group. we needsecond normal form. The result will instantly be available throughout theapplication. CompanyCode becomes the key of the new "Company" table. and the company name and location describe only a company. For example.
Boyce-Codd Normal Form .BCNF. Boyce-Codd Normal Form BCNF.
Typically. a 3NF relation won't be in BCNF if (a) there are multiple candidate keys. BCNF covers very specific situations where 3NF misses inter-dependencies between non-key (but candidate key) attributes. any relation that is in 3NF is also in BCNF. However. then X is a candidate key for R. and A is not in X. Basically. so help me Codd. a humorous way to remember BCNF is that "The key.Boyce-Codd Normal Form states mathematically that: A relation R is said to be in BCNF if whenever X -> A holds in R. the whole key. (b) the keys are composed of multiple attributes. and nothing but the key. and (c) there are common attributes between the keys." all functional dependencies are: .
to resolve the two M:M relationships. Initial business request So. independent relationships. it might look right (it is in 3rd normal form) at first. This could be any 2 M:M relationshipsfrom a single entity. This is shown below. we know that we should resolve them separately. but has incorrectly merged 2 distinct. and violates 4th normal form. and a book could be recommended by many members. if we were to combine them into a singletable. Also. . a member could have recommended many books.Isolate Independent Multiple Relationships ( 4NF) This applies primarily to key-only associative tables. The way this situation starts is by a business request list the one shown below. and appears as a ternary relationship. and a software tool may be used by many members. For instance. a member could know many software tools. and that would give us 4th normal form. But.
shown below. and Steve Doesn't know any software tools. Mary didn't recommend a book. where Billknows ERWin and recommends the ERWin Bible for everyone to read. . look at some sample data. Our solution has forced us to do strange things like create dummy records in both Book and Software to allow the record in the association. The first few records look right. But something is wrong with Mary and Steve.Incorrect solution To get a picture of what is wrong. since it is key only table.
now lets modify the original business diagram and add a link between the books and the software tools. such that we would be stating that "Bill recommends the ERWin Bible as a reference for ERWin". however. to cause the model to be in 4th normal form. as shown below. indicating which books deal with which software tools.Sample data from incorrect solution The correct solution. as shown below. Correct 4th normal form NOTE! This is not to say that ALL ternary associations are invalid. . The above situation made it obvious that Books and Software were independently linked to Members. In that case. we would lose the distinct information about the 3-way relationship. If. Isolate Semantically Related Multiple Relationships OK. there were distinct links between all three. is to ensure that all M:M relationships are resolved independently if they are indeed independent. then separating the relationship into two separate associations would beincorrect.
The ternary association looks identical to the one shown in the 4th normal form example.Initial business request This makes sense after the discussion on Rule 4. or we have to add our favorite dummy member record to allow the record in the association table. and is also going to have trouble displaying the information correctly. which would now violate 5th normal form. . and again we may be tempted to resolve the multiple M:M relationshipsinto a single association. This time we would have even more trouble because we can't show the relationships between books and software unless we have a member to link to.
as before. resulting in the model shown below.Incorrect solution The solution. Within complex business discussions. members and software. Now information about members and books. and books and software are all stored independently. Correct 5th normal form . is to ensure that all M:Mrelationships that are independent are resolved independently. It is very tempting in many situations to combine the multiple M:M relationships because they are so similar. even though they are all very much semantically related. the lines can become blurred and the correct solution not so obvious.
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