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PHP Advanced for the World Wide Web: Visual QuickPro Guide by Larry Ullman

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Database Design and Normalization

Database design and use should—although it frequently does not—begin with a pad of paper and a writing implement. The computer and the DBMS itself shouldn't be involved until a couple of steps into the whole process. (The same is also true for programming—sketching out how a site interacts before you type your first <?php can save you hours of alteration time later.) With databases, planning ahead may be the difference between whether it works reliably or not and, at the very least, affects the usability, performance, and scalability of the end product.

To begin the process of creating a database you need to sit down with the people involved—the client perhaps—and determine all the needs of the database, both ...

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