Chapter 22. Ten Database Design Tips

Putting a little time and energy into properly designing your databases can pay big dividends down the road when your database is in production. Well-designed databases perform better, providing users with more efficient and more reliable service.

In this section, I provide ten short database design tips that will help you design your databases well.

Plan Ahead

Planning your database before you implement it is one of the most important steps in ensuring a good database design. You'll benefit greatly by sitting down with the eventual end users of the database and designing it to meet their business requirements. Take the time to determine the appropriate fields for your database and group them into logical tables. You'll find that designing your database correctly from the start is much easier than correcting those issues after you've deployed your database.

I provide a detailed discussion of effectively planning a database design in Chapter 4.

Draw Before You Click

Database professionals have long relied upon the power of visualization to convey important design characteristics to others. Entity relationship (ER) diagrams provide a convenient, standardized mechanism to record database design decisions in an easy-to-read format. ER diagrams capture both the contents and structure of database tables as well as the relationships between those tables.

I discuss Entity relationship diagrams in depth in Chapter 4.

Choose Primary Keys Carefully

Primary keys ...

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