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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Grateful Mere Mortal
If you are new to database design; this is the book.
I am new; I loved the book. It starts with the basics, describes them in plain English. Then it guides you through a process of sound database design. Although I am not one of them, it is may not be a book for people with a degree of specialized knowledge. You do not need a background in mathematics or computer...
Published on April 15, 2004 by Craig L. Howe

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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not quite there
The book does a fair job at explaining basic concepts about database design by keeping the english simple. However, it fails to lay a proper foundation for a number of key topics. It is poorly organizated and can not by itself take a novice to a clear understanding of database design.

It appears the book is targeted at designing small MS Access databases. The...
Published on July 5, 2005 by James


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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Grateful Mere Mortal, April 15, 2004
By 
Craig L. Howe (Darien, CT United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Database Design for Mere Mortals: A Hands-On Guide to Relational Database Design (2nd Edition) (Paperback)
If you are new to database design; this is the book.
I am new; I loved the book. It starts with the basics, describes them in plain English. Then it guides you through a process of sound database design. Although I am not one of them, it is may not be a book for people with a degree of specialized knowledge. You do not need a background in mathematics or computer science to understand it.
Michael Hernandez is one of those rare individuals who sees database design as an art form rather than a science. More importantly, he possesses the ability to communicate complex concepts in simple declarative sentences. The result is an understandable, common sense methodology for developing databases that work.
Why would you ask for more?
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Exceptional and Easy to Understand, April 17, 2004
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This review is from: Database Design for Mere Mortals: A Hands-On Guide to Relational Database Design (2nd Edition) (Paperback)
I am a business (systems) analyst by profession and I highly recommend this book. Every IT business analyst should own this book and keep it close when defining technical requirements. The author is clear and concise and provides easy-to-understand definitions of relational database terms and how each object/element contributes to sound database design and, ultimately, data integrity.
I read one of the other reviews before writing mine that mentioned that this book may be too simplistic for 'immortals' in the database design world. From what I've experienced in over 15 years in the industry, poor data quality continues to show its ugly head over and over. Maybe if some of those 'immortals' out there would revisit the basics of good database design, more data warehouses would succeed and projects would not overrun due to ever-present bad data!
This is an excellent resource to review over and over again - I say, don't hesitate to buy this. You won't be disappointed (unless, of course, you're immortal!).
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good For Organisations' DBs Not So Good For Database Programmers, November 20, 2006
By 
John Kramer (Portland, OR USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Database Design for Mere Mortals: A Hands-On Guide to Relational Database Design (2nd Edition) (Paperback)
I'm a programmer who has been roped into doing some database design work for the database that my application uses.

While this book presents a very sane rational analytic approach based on interviewing users for developing a database system for a large (or small) organization, it isn't so applicable to my situation. When developing a database as the infrastructure to a program (rather than developing a database that stores data for which programmatic access is secondary), the data tends to be more abstract and this book doesn't really address that as much.

Also, it doesn't really address the issue that I'm having right now which is that the legacy database that I'm working with needs work, but I whatever changes I make will require changes to the code, so I was hoping to get some guidance to help me prioritize what changes to make first.

Still, it is well written in simple English and seems like it would be a great read for the intended audience.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not quite there, July 5, 2005
By 
James (Colorado Springs, CO United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Database Design for Mere Mortals: A Hands-On Guide to Relational Database Design (2nd Edition) (Paperback)
The book does a fair job at explaining basic concepts about database design by keeping the english simple. However, it fails to lay a proper foundation for a number of key topics. It is poorly organizated and can not by itself take a novice to a clear understanding of database design.

It appears the book is targeted at designing small MS Access databases. The author fails to develop the concepts of multiple relationships between tables. He also provides a narrow definition of first normal form that violates first normal form and neglects any discussion of Domain Key Normal Form (DKNF).

While the author deserves kuddos for presenting recursion, he fails to do so smoothly or in a single location in the book. Ultimately, a reader may wonder why use recursion because the book clearly doesn't tell them.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Definitely for Beginners, August 31, 2003
By 
"cltss" (Dallas, TX United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Database Design for Mere Mortals: A Hands-On Guide to Relational Database Design (2nd Edition) (Paperback)
This is a great book for beginners. As some comments here suggest there is not much of *design* in here if you are already been there and done that before. But, if you are a beginner and wants to start off this would be a great help. Many of the concepts are explained in thourough detail and with solid examples. A definite database design book for beginners.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars First Edition (Please read the full review), June 30, 2003
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This review is from: Database Design for Mere Mortals: A Hands-On Guide to Relational Database Design (2nd Edition) (Paperback)
Intro
"There is no one book that is best for every person. There couldn't be one. People are too different in the way they learn, in what they already know, in what they need, in what they want, and in what kind of effort they are willing to make." Bjarne Stroustrup (The creator of the C++ programming language.)
I always try to remember this whenever I have to judge a writing effort.
Whom is this book for?
This book is for a beginner database developer who wants a simple process to follow and some light intro to the fundamentals of database design.
What does this Book offer?
The main aim of the book is to offer a database development process that would help a novice get the basics of database development through light weight process the writer follows and I insist on the word light weight since the writer aims at abstracting some hard concepts in simple ways. Thought the process tips are given on how to conduct an interview, how to name tables, how to search for fields, light weight normalization.
What I liked?
This book is well written, simple and an easy read. The best of the book seems to be at the end.
What I didn't?
If you didn't, go read the Stroustrup quote I wrote in order not to miss understand me, the book seems to be aimed at shallow people :) never the less its good, the writer seems to think that he is the only good database developer and that he is always right
Conclusion
The book is not so deep but yes you may be able to design your own database system.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Helps you get over the learning curve of relational design, April 22, 2005
By 
Steven (Colorado, USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Database Design for Mere Mortals: A Hands-On Guide to Relational Database Design (2nd Edition) (Paperback)
Michael Hernandez does a great job of explaining how the relational model works, and how a database should be designed from start to finish. Most of us will probably not follow his advice, though.

If you do decide to follow his advice, then be prepared for a very lengthy trip when designing your DBs. I tried on my first DB and found that the company I was designing the DB for started to get slightly irritated. This is because in this book Michael suggests you have a full blown manager and or user meeting with virtually every single change you make (also meetings for requirements, ideas, characteristic identification, user input meetings, manager meetings... oh look, a change happened, now we have to go through all of the same meetings again... and again... and... >yawn<... every other page in this book suggests another meeting). I must have had 25-30 meetings total, which just isn't necessary. Also, there is all sorts of spec sheets you should fill out for every single aspect of the database. I would probably just use a modeling tool (such as Visio) instead of going through this daunting task (I would have had to fill out over 300 spec sheets just for the fields!... it was a big DB)

Although his way of designing is probably the way you should really go, I found that designing a sound database doesn't require quite so much work. You can do most of the design process if you have a good modeling tool, which is what I ended up doing and my DB turned out quite well (you still should conduct meetings, but not for every single aspect of the database... your clients will begin to think you have no idea what you're doing). However, this book pounds the relational design in your head so much, that you can't help but get over the tough learning curve of how a relational database really should be designed.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent for nontechnical users, April 20, 2003
This review is from: Database Design for Mere Mortals: A Hands-On Guide to Relational Database Design (2nd Edition) (Paperback)
A very well done text that avoids a lot of the mathematical jargon in the field. No set theory. No predicate calculus. This book is about the logical design of databases for someone who has never done that before. The tasks here are independent of any actual SQL software, and you do not need to know any SQL either.
This is ostensibly a computer book. But interestingly enough, you do not need a computer to do anything it describes. From an object-oriented view, if that is your background, the author has done a skilful job of separating the design methodology from any software implementation or environment.
It is also useful if you are not from a computing background, but you need to know what your technical coworkers, subordinates or the people in the department next door do when they maintain databases. Ok. The author does not discuss issues like transaction processing. But that is off-topic. Here, with a few hours reading, you can get the essence of database design.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars For Mortals, It Is Practically Valuable, February 19, 2004
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This review is from: Database Design for Mere Mortals: A Hands-On Guide to Relational Database Design (2nd Edition) (Paperback)
A very nice book, which makes the daunting task of designing databases easy for "mortals". I like the facts that 1) the book is well written and easy to follow, 2) examples are plenty and to-the-point, 3) checklists or numbered procedures are handy for dealing with real problems.
But for "immortals" (or smarties, or professionals) who earn a living on designing databases, this book may be too simple. First, the book is not concise and may be distilled into half less without losing any essential concept. Second, serious stuff like normal forms may be added. Third, maybe an expanded chapter on special situations like analysis- or performance-centered design. But this will change the title of the book, which is not what the author intends to do, I guess.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars perfect for a n00b, February 3, 2009
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This review is from: Database Design for Mere Mortals: A Hands-On Guide to Relational Database Design (2nd Edition) (Paperback)
This book was just the text I was looking for as a n00b data base designer looking to build a data base for a pet project of mine. I'm a forester and forest planner, not a computer specialist. Thus, I needed instruction from the ground up, and this book fit the bill.

Some specific praise: First, the book bridged the gap between administrative needs (or in my case, general concept) and logical design. How do we get from those notes and vague understanding of the administrative environment to a specific design? This book helps. Second, it give the reader a basic understanding of the terminology. Third, it explains relationships. Finally, it provides a methodology (constructing table descriptions and field specifications) for creating tight data structures.

Some advice: Get the 1st edition of this book and a couple others (like "The Absolute Beginner's Guide to Relational Databases") and learn the general concepts for as little money as possible. Supplement these books with one good new book that's specific to your RDBMS, and you're off and running. (At least, that's my approach, and it's working for me -- a n00b with a limited R&D budget.)

Conclusion: a great book for an introductory understanding of relational databases.
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Database Design for Mere Mortals: A Hands-On Guide to Relational Database Design (2nd Edition)
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