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Database Design for Mere Mortals: A Hands-On Guide to Relational Database Design Paperback – Dec 19 1996


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional; 1 edition (Dec 19 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0201694719
  • ISBN-13: 978-0201694710
  • Product Dimensions: 18.6 x 2.1 x 23.1 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 Kg
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (88 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #592,306 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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.

Customer Reviews

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 19 2004
Format: Paperback
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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By A Customer on May 19 2004
Format: Paperback
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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Format: Paperback
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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Format: Paperback
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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Format: Paperback
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.
Updates:
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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