Re: If you were going to learn... (DB quickie primer)

Subject: Re: If you were going to learn... (DB quickie primer)
From: Ann Hastings <explorer227 -at- juno -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 7 Mar 2002 18:44:06 -0800


I recommend learning a bit of hands-on database building and usage for
your pet project. The specific database program doesn't matter a lot.

Along with that, I like both Michael J. Hernandez' book: "Database Design
for Mere Mortals," and Jan L. Harrington's book: "Relational Database
Design Clearly Explained."

The concepts of database design, the way you need to think about your
subject matter, is similar to the way you think when you are outlining a
subject, or indexing a subject, or designing an XML structure, with its
elements and defining attributes. You've got your broad categories, like
database tables, and under each one you drill down to the elements, or
fields, or details, included in each category.

For example, if you designed a database about birds you've seen, you
might have a table for shorebirds, and another for raptors. Defining
fields might include the location where the bird was seen, the season of
year, etc. Each record would describe one bird. In the shorebirds table,
you might have godwits and curlews, and in the raptors table, you might
have red-tailed hawks and peregrine falcons.

With flat-file databases, each table would be totally separate from the
others, but with relational databases, you can link tables by specified
fields, so that you enter a piece of data once, and it is seen by the
other linked tables too. This eliminates redundancy and multiple
variations in data entry.

Sorry. I got carried away.

Ann Hastings

On Thu, 7 Mar 2002 15:54:27 -0500 "Bonnie Granat"
<bgranat -at- editors-writers -dot- info> writes:
> ...about database technology, would you:
> (a) Learn Microsoft Access?
> (b) Take a class?
> (c) Read a book?
> (d) Give it up because you have to be a "techie" to understand it?

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