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Database Design for Mere Mortals: A Hands-On Guide to Relational Database Design [Paperback]

Michael J. Hernandez
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (88 customer reviews)

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Database Design for Mere Mortals: A Hands-On Guide to Relational Database Design (3rd Edition) Database Design for Mere Mortals: A Hands-On Guide to Relational Database Design (3rd Edition) 5.0 out of 5 stars (1)
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Book Description

Dec 19 1996 0201694719 978-0201694710 1
S ound design can save you hours of development time before you write a single line of code. Based on the author's years of experience teaching this material, Database Design for Mere Mortals is a straightforward, platform-independent tutorial on the basic principles of relational database design.
Database design expert Michael J. Hernandez introduces the core concepts of design theory and method without the technical jargon. With it's hands-on approach and a wealth of practical examples, Database Design for Mere Mortals will provide any developer with a common-sense design methodology for developing databases that work.
Chapter 4 ( DBMS Magazine )
Chapter 10
Chapter 11

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Product Description

From Amazon

Relational databases are powerful tools for organizing data, but learning to use them effectively can be painful. Relational Database Design for Mere Mortals explains the concepts of relational-database design in an easy-to-digest fashion that covers both the theoretical underpinnings and their practical implications. Hernandez covers all the basics--table and field structure, keys, relationships, business rules, and more--but always keeps his feet on the ground with advice for real-world implementations and a particularly strong section on analyzing your current database infrastructure.

From Library Journal

This truly excellent introduction to relational database design will work for both novices and advanced designers because the book does not tie itself to any particular database implementation. Hernandez has years of database design and training experience. For all levels from public to university libraries.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars NOT FOR EVERYONE (what else is new?) May 19 2004
By A Customer
I have to temper my enthusiasm for this book with the perspective gained by reading the negative comments of those who seem to be, by and large, professional database developers, programming experts, and teachers. First, I just gotta say: "no offense, but geez, what a bunch of snotty know-it-alls!" Now that I have that off my chest, this book was manna from heaven for me! I am a newbie, I'm using Access, I'm trying to create a system for my workplace (without knowing what I'm doing, mind you!), and I learn best through a logical approach, reinforcement, and repitition. I actually enjoyed the experience of skipping some paragraphs thinking, "yeah, yeah, you said that already, I GOT it!" But I think even having that experience helps me learn by shoring up the information deposit in my head. If you're in my situation, and you like starting at the beginning and getting a solid foundation, AND if you're not a big whoopdie doo database mogul, you will love this book! BTW, this is not a book about Access or any particular brand of database software, but a book about FUNDAMENTALS of database design that is probably most appropriate for people who don't intend to make their living designing databases. I'd bet that's a lot of people.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great May 19 2004
By A Customer
After trying to figure it out on my own, buying 3 differend $50 books, reworking my database project a half-dozen different ways, losing sleep, pulling my hair out... I finally found what I needed in this book. I think it is especially helpful for me because I've done enough trial and error to be truly convinced that I cannot avoid paying attention to the basics. For the first time, I feel like I know what I'm doing, at the foundation level at least. This book is written in amazingly clear and precise language, with a brilliantly logical organization. It reinforces learning through a deliberate method: "first I'll tell you what I'm going to tell you, then I'll actually tell you it, then I'll tell you what I told you (then give you a case study and a quiz)." Awesome. SO HELPFUL!! I don't know when I've felt so grateful for a book. If you're new to Access, or want to learn a solid method for building the foundation and framework of a database, I can't recommend this book highly enough.
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5.0 out of 5 stars a turning point in my career Dec 6 2002
If a computer book can be life-changing, this one would be. I had been working with databases for some time, but had no formal training. Often, I didn't understand the terms flying around, although I understood the concepts. This book defined all those database terms from normalization to join tables. It revolutionized the way I design databases.
I particularly liked the focus on designing on paper first, because this provides a great requirements document and the basis for a user manual! Hernandez teaches you how to talk to the stakeholders and determine what the database needs to represent. He has a method for transforming a user interview into table and field names.
The book is well-laid out with lots of examples, a typeset that's easy on the eyes, and extremely clear prose.
I can't imagine where I would be today if I hadn't bought this book a year ago. My employers paid much less for this book than any class I have taken, and yet this has had the largest impact on the way I develop. Database applications I created after reading the book have gotten lots of good feedback from users.
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This book shines in the process of communicating between the people who need the database and the database designer. This book would be valuable to a business contracting to set up a database. By using down-to-earth ("mortal") terms, Hernandez makes clear the value of normalization, and his "ideal table" and "ideal field" guidelines are practical presentations of the often more theoretically presented normalization. By describing how to document a table and field descriptions, Hernandez provides documentation guidelines that are often overlooked in introductory works. It might be valuable to store the answers to his "Field specification worksheet" into a "metadata" database.
There were a few parts of the book that I thought could have been amplified. The use of "subset" tables was introduced, but lacked discussion on how to build joins between main and subset tables. Database business rules were introduced, but "application-oriented" business rules were not, and they might influence the database structure. I applaud his inclusion of documenting "views", but I would have appreciated a discussion of testing the results of a view. Finally, his "Final goodbye" to the company seems too optimistic ... often there are changes after the initial design. Still, all in all, a useful book!
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1.0 out of 5 stars Where's the beef? Dec 23 2001
After using this book to teach a database course, most of my students seem to agree with the following:
This book does not deal with database design; for the most part, it deals with definitions and small details. For example, the author focuses on little things like what to name your tables and fields.
This book contains very little in the way of actual database design concepts. It uses so many pages to explain things which have nothing to do with actual database design. The information relating to design is very detail oriented with no conceptual framework to tie it all together. This leaves students with no idea of how the little pieces fit into the big picture.
Try designing a database on your own after reading this book and see how far you actually get. When (or even if) you complete this task, take the finished product to someone who truly knows database design and ask for comments and criticism. I think that you'll be surprised at how little you've actually learned from this book.
For this upcoming semester, I plan on using Inside Relational Databases (ISBN 1852334010). I hope that it will be a better book.
1) I didn't get a chance to teach this class again.
2) The students complained about this book and its companion book (SQL Queries for Mere Mortals)...
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Most recent customer reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars there are better books out there
This book is adequate but not great as an introduction to designing databases. I agree with other reviewers that it's quite repetitive and goes to extremes on details like field... Read more
Published on Feb. 7 2003
4.0 out of 5 stars The best on design
This is the most helpful book I have ever read in sorting out the complexities of relational database design. Read more
Published on Dec 31 2002 by Carol Duning
4.0 out of 5 stars Database Design for Mere Mortals
Mr. Hernandez,
I have read your book "Database Design for Mere Mortals" and found it to be absolutely gratifying. Read more
Published on Aug. 27 2002 by Terry
5.0 out of 5 stars An Excellent Handbook Written By An Excellent Writer
Michael J. Hernandez takes known, accepted database analysis and design methodology and turns it into step-by step techniques to design and develop a good relational database. Read more
Published on July 5 2002 by Sheila C. Herdman
4.0 out of 5 stars Foundation for Relational Understanding
This book gets the reader to begin thinking about relationships and entities absent of implementation - which is a critical part of being a database designer. Read more
Published on July 1 2002 by C. Giancola
2.0 out of 5 stars Wasn't Terribly Helpful
Too much background and emphasis on interviews and talking to everyone in the company before explaing how to put together a logical database. Read more
Published on Feb. 14 2002 by Jingleballs
5.0 out of 5 stars The book for everyone who must talk design with their DBA
I'm buying this book a second time because I lent it out one too many times to people at my last job. Read more
Published on Dec 11 2001 by Jim Martino
2.0 out of 5 stars This is not technical book
I am dissapointed with this book. The first half of this book is explaining how to make an interview with your client, and then use the interview data to design the database... Read more
Published on Nov. 16 2001 by Batara Kesuma
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