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Refactoring Databases: Evolutionary Database Design 1st Edition

4.3 out of 5 stars 27 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0321293534
ISBN-10: 0321293533
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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

Refactoring has proven its value in a wide range of development projects–helping software professionals improve system designs, maintainability, extensibility, and performance. Now, for the first time, leading agile methodologist Scott Ambler and renowned consultant Pramodkumar Sadalage introduce powerful refactoring techniques specifically designed for database systems.

Ambler and Sadalage demonstrate how small changes to table structures, data, stored procedures, and triggers can significantly enhance virtually any database design–without changing semantics. You’ll learn how to evolve database schemas in step with source code–and become far more effective in projects relying on iterative, agile methodologies.

This comprehensive guide and reference helps you overcome the practical obstacles to refactoring real-world databases by covering every fundamental concept underlying database refactoring. Using start-to-finish examples, the authors walk you through refactoring simple standalone database applications as well as sophisticated multi-application scenarios. You’ll master every task involved in refactoring database schemas, and discover best practices for deploying refactorings in even the most complex production environments.

The second half of this book systematically covers five major categories of database refactorings. You’ll learn how to use refactoring to enhance database structure, data quality, and referential integrity; and how to refactor both architectures and methods. This book provides an extensive set of examples built with Oracle and Java and easily adaptable for other languages, such as C#, C++, or VB.NET, and other databases, such as DB2, SQL Server, MySQL, and Sybase.

Using this book’s techniques and examples, you can reduce waste, rework, risk, and cost–and build database systems capable of evolving smoothly, far into the future.


About the Author

Scott W. Ambler is a software process improvement (SPI) consultant living just north of Toronto. He is founder and practice leader of the Agile Modeling (AM) (www.agilemodeling.com), Agile Data (AD) (www.agiledata.org), Enterprise Unified Process (EUP) (www.enterpriseunifiedprocess.com), and Agile Unified Process (AUP) (www.ambysoft.com/unifiedprocess) methodologies. Scott is the (co-)author of several books, including Agile Modeling (John Wiley & Sons, 2002), Agile Database Techniques (John Wiley & Sons, 2003), The Object Primer, Third Edition (Cambridge University Press, 2004), The Enterprise Unified Process (Prentice Hall, 2005), and The Elements of UML 2.0 Style (Cambridge University Press, 2005). Scott is a contributing editor with Software Development magazine (www.sdmagazine.com) and has spoken and keynoted at a wide variety of international conferences, including Software Development, UML World, Object Expo, Java Expo, and Application Development. Scott graduated from the University of Toronto with a Master of Information Science. In his spare time Scott studies the Goju Ryu and Kobudo styles of karate.

Pramod J. Sadalage is a consultant for ThoughtWorks, an enterprise application development and integration company. He first pioneered the practices and processes of evolutionary database design and database refactoring in 1999 while working on a large J2EE application using the Extreme Programming (XP) methodology. Since then, Pramod has applied the practices and processes to many projects. Pramod writes and speaks about database administration on evolutionary projects, the adoption of evolutionary processes with regard to databases, and evolutionary practices’ impact upon database administration, in order to make it easy for everyone to use evolutionary design in regards to databases. When he is not working, you can find him spending time with his wife and daughter and trying to improve his running.



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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional; 1 edition (March 13, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0321293533
  • ISBN-13: 978-0321293534
  • Product Dimensions: 7.2 x 1.2 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.9 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #514,602 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Michael Cohn on May 8, 2006
Format: Hardcover
This is an excellent book that, in my opinion, serves two purposes. First, it is a compendium of well thought-out ways to evolve a database design. Each refactoring includes descriptions of why you might make this change, tradeoffs to consider before making it, how to update the schema, how to migrate the data, and how applications that access the data will need to change. Some of the refactorings are simple ones that even the most change-resistant DBAs will have used in the past ("Add index"). Most others (such as "Merge tables" or "Replace LOB with Table") are ones many conventional thinking DBAs avoid, even to the detriment of the applications their databases support.

This brings me to the second purpose of this book. Many DBAs view their jobs as protectors of the data. While that is admirable, they sometimes forget that they are part of a software development team whose job is to provide value to the organization through the development of new (and enhancement of existing) applications. One of the best DBAs I ever worked with viewed himself as a "Data Valet." He said his job was to make sure the data was presented to applications when and where they wanted and to protect the doors from getting dinged while under his care. Through its first five chapters and then the refactorings that follow, this book will help DBAs expand their view of their role in the organization from one of simply protecting data to one of enhancing the value of data to the organization.

This book is one that you'll keep on your reference shelf for many years to come. Highly recommended.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
In software development a 'refactoring' is a change that improves code quality without changing functionality. Refactoring helps keep an application maintainable over its life-cycle as requirements evolve, and is particularly of interest to those adopting modern 'agile' methodologies. This book comprises five general chapters on database refactoring - about 70 pages - followed by a 200 page catalog of various refactorings. The refactorings are classified as 'structural', 'data quality', 'referential integrity', 'architectural' and 'methods'. An additional chapter catalogs 'transformations', more on which in a moment. Each catalog entry uses a template including 'Motivation', 'Tradeoffs', 'Schema Update Mechanics', 'Data-Migration Mechanics' and 'Access Program Update Mechanics'. The 'Mechanics' sections include example code fragments for Oracle, JDBC and Hibernate.

Several of the structural refactorings are just simple database schema changes: rename/drop column/table/view. Adding is not really a refactoring so add column/table/view were cataloged as 'transformations' - changes that do affect the application, a distinction that appears to me a little clumsy. Some structural refactorings are more interesting: merge/split columns/tables, move column, introduce/remove surrogate key, introduce calculated column, introduce associative table.

The data quality refactorings include introduce/drop default values, null or check constraints, standardize codes, formats and data types, use consistent keys and lookup tables. Most of these are common best practices, seeing them cataloged as refactorings didn't yield me any new insights. Only replacing type codes with flags was of special interest.
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Format: Hardcover
This book is a much needed exploration on the subject. It tries to categorize those operations that developers and DBAs do on a database, who, for various reasons, must address a specific problem, need. I only gave it three stars because it is somewhat insufficient. It also doesn't make much of a distinction between a database in development and one in production. In the latter case, it is really difficult to make changes when there is already a data structure in place with data, being updated constantly by users, and plans to migrate to a different data model while a system is in production is really not for the faint of heart. What I am really loooking for is a thick book of bad designs that, for various reasons (unclear or evolving requirements, political), a database model presents itself with a bunch of problems, real problems and not just theoretical, and the ways a DBA and developers came about after a big pow-wow on how to solve it.
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Format: Hardcover
It's been almost 7 years since Fowler's Refactoring book, and now the database community has finally caught up with the rest of us. This book shows how to refactor a relational database schema, working you through the detailed process steps for doing so and providing the source code for implementing more database refactorings than I would have thought existed.

The first five chapters describe how to go about database refactoring. Chapter 1 overviews the idea that you can evolve your database schema in small steps, a radical departure for many traditional DBAs. It also overviews the need for supporting techniques such as agile data modeling, database regression testing, and version control of your data models and scripts. I would have liked to see more coverage of these topics, but at least the modeling material is covered in Ambler's Agile Modeling book and there are some great SCM books out there.

Chapters 2 and 3 walk through the process of implementing a database refactoring, first through the simple situation where there is only a handful of applications accessing the database. I guess this sort of thing happens in smaller companies, but most of the time you really have to worry about scores of applications accessing your database which is a much harder situation. This is actually the focus of Chapter 3 and of the presented solutions in Chapters 6 through 11 which provide reference implementations for all of the database refactorings. This approach belies the true strength of the book: it reflects actual experience in large organizations, not just the theoretical pie in the sky stuff you see from other authors.
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