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Designing Effective Database Systems
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33 of 33 people found the following review helpful
on November 25, 2005
Format: Paperback
This book gives you a points-to-points look-in on various core aspects ie: component parts & pieces, which earmark & characterizes the design of an effective database system

i'd say, this is a good (first,introductory db design book). it will endow you with the vision or skills to look at/objectively qualify ,the items you need to take into consideration all along the way to designing an effective database system from the beginning of the db design lifecycle to its watershed

This book is...

- Is a good, first birds-eye view of core aspects of the database design terrain from 5,000 feet.

- It's like circling at a high altitude of the database terrain first, whilst still practically clearly seeing the individual trees from the forest.

Its a 319 page read . the detail level is just about right to serve as a quick review of items to consider.

If its sorta your first dip into data & database design , its a good place to start but i'd recommend you take this book, couple it & digest it together with a read of :"Database Design" by Sams; ISBN:0672317583 -(a terrific book!) subsequently after ;

and you'll have a really good,full 20:20 vision of the database system design domain/aspect.

digesting these together gives you a brilliant foundation.

Value: The second book(ie: the Sams book), will patch-up on areas like relationships & give you more meat on all the core checklist of items to objectively consider straight away, if say tomorrow you found yourself commencing with/starting a db design effort. it's a better cookbook.

Riordan's book then would seem a very nice starter/introduction

At this new knowledge point/vantage, you are now equipped with a greater, squarer view of the terrain at some 7,000 feet. ie: at this point, if you were interested in doing the sql-server design exam: 70-229, or the Oracle fundamentals I equivalent: 1Z0-031, everything would make so much more sense re: triggers, sprocs, functions, cursors, Business rules + Constraints, RAID Backup , Indexing, Views, the SQL angle etc. if you pick up an ExamCram2 book + Transcender, Testking or whatever you select as your exam study guide of preference, you'll be able to finally see & understand how things -(aspects of the puzzle), actually all fit together and be able to translate almost effortlessly from conceptual design aspects to the necessary logical design-blueprint , to the physical implementation aspects.

And that which you understand... you won't forget

After digesting the Riordan book followed by the Sams book, you are now ready for intermediate to proficient level. 10,000 to 12,000 feet - design proficiency.

as a 3rd level book , i'd recommend you move on to reading the following 4 (ordered here by: most-entailed to least-entailed):

(1.) Database Modelling Essentials; ISBN:0126445516 ;

Value:(brings you a solid handle on building a database model to support a businesses activities)

(2.) Database Solutions; ISBN:0321173503 ;

Value: (clarity in cruising comfortably between d relational model and a good, solid, logical design...[a great book])

(3.) Database Design for Mere Mortals; ISBN: 0201752840 ;

Value: (great for reviewing Table Relationships -(setting-up joins) and reading the ERD -[Entity Relationship Diagrams])

AND

(4.) Databases Demystified; ISBN:0072253649 ;

Value: (great for stepping you linearly through the database lifecycle again, with good explanations about what you should be sure you are doing & obtaining from each stage/step of the lifecycle)..ie: that which will be expected of you at each step/stage chunk

To cap things up, Read :

- "Beginning Relational database design" ; ISBN:1590594630 ;

Value: (pulls all your data modelling personal resource skills together and reconstitutes them for you by casting you in a role where you practice modelling a complete system from scratch ie: -[from gathering the requirements specification, to the end of the detailed conceptual database design effort for the system]);

And you'll have all the core skills you need to build/design one mean database, enterprise-oriented or otherwise or reverse-engineer one.

if you are already in the thick of a project and are really pressed to find a db design solution -[(logical) + (implementation in SQL code)] right now, maybe consider buying or looking into purchasing the pricey: "Data Model Resource CD_ROM" ;ISBN:0471388289;

Value: it boasts a library of proven: tried and tested Universal Data Models, for all Enterprise types.

So, all you'll need do is adapt or borrow a design solution/model or architecture that applies closely to what you're trying to accomplish modelling for your database project ,and adapt & implement it as a solution for the database system you are designing. it's Magic!

Though i rated d Riordan book 4 stars for the depth of its content matter, the book rates more like a 4.5 for sheer readability & clarity of explanations for such an often notoriously complex technical subject area.

I'd talk about core books that translate to laying-out a solid physical database implementation & tuning for performance, but thats gonna have to wait till maybe a future book review

cheers.

-------
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on February 15, 2005
Format: Paperback
Realistically, software developers are not the only only people who utilize databases. Any person who professionally works with computers deals with databases whether they know it or not. The database may not be a physical entity like a SQL or JET file, but something more subtle or conceptual such as your computers file system, the registry, the Active Directory, etc. The ability to understand and leverage databases is of great benefit to all IT professionals, and this book is a great place to start.

Despite what the title implies, the focus of this book is not in developing any specific database system or learning a specific development platform, but rather to intellectually understand what makes a database a database, how a database should be structured, the steps needed to design an efficient database for the situation, how to pull data from the database in a meaningful way, and even the steps to take to develop the user interface. This is accomplished by walking you thru each concept and building on the information gained prior. Information is provided as clearly as it can be for the topic, and there is no shortage of visual aids.

The fact that the author uses two Microsoft products (SQL and Access) to demonstrate concepts is more out of convenience than anything else. Both products install with an excellent relational database example (Northwind Database) which is used as the foundation for the concept demonstrations. As the focus of this book is informational a not hands-on lesson driven, and as database design and query structures are universal and not vendor-specific, readers using other database providers will have no difficulty following along and will find the presentation of equal value. Conceptually, however, it would have been nice to utilize an open-source and free database system, and provide demonstration databases as a download.

Without a doubt, this is one of the best titles for learning database design and systems development. Concepts are clearly presented, easily understood and real-world applications demonstrated. Any person with an interest in databases can find value in this book and walk away with the ability to utilize the information gained.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Format: Paperback
Relational databases have a well developed theory underpinning them. Often described in formal maths language that can be offputting to a newcomer without that background. The merit of Riordan's book is to show that you can often understand and design such databases, without recourse to such formalisms, which greatly expands the potential audience for the book.

There's scarcely an equation here. But you can understand the essence of different normal forms and what Boyce and Codd contributed to shoring up this field. Instead of equations, the author demonstrates what may be more intuitive to many of you - Modelling diagrams that show relationships in a visual form that is easy to grasp. You can see how a diagram can convey the essence of many relationships, and thus form the skeleton of a database. This visual understanding may be one of the most useful teaching results of the book.

Riordan uses Microsoft packages to demonstrate how to make example databases. Commendably, she writes broadly enough that you should be able to recast these examples in another database if you wish.
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on February 7, 2005
Format: Paperback
Rebecca Riordan is one of the few authors that I trust so implicitly that I'll order any book she writes if the subject is even remotely of interest. She is able to explain complex, even daunting, subjects so clearly that they are easy to learn. And, as an added bonus, she has a witty, interesting style that ensures her readers are never bored even if the sujbect matter may be a bit on the dry side. If you have any interest in database systems, even if you have Riordan's previous book on the subject, this is a book you should not pass up.
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