RE: If you were going to learn...

Subject: RE: If you were going to learn...
From: "Sella Rush" <srush -at- MusicNet -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 7 Mar 2002 18:52:41 -0800

I'd also recommend the book "Database Design for Mere Mortals" as a good general learning tool for relational database design.

I'm wondering what exactly you goal is. So many people use the word "technology" that I'm never sure what anyone means by it anymore. But I'm going to assume you're looking to create (or document) a relational database or database tool.

Off the top of my head, I can separate database stuff into four main topics:

1. How the relational model stores and structures data (hint: if you know what a table is, you're halfway there; other important topics include primary keys, normalization, data typing)

2. How to retrieve stored data (SQL). How to structure what data you want retrieved and how to present it.

3. How to intelligently design/model a database. This topic includes understanding ER diagrams, the concept of relationships (one-to-one, one-to-many, many-to-many) and how they need to be represented in the 2-dimensional format of the relational data model, understanding how to transfer a body of information and how that information is used into a meaningful database structure.

4. How the development side of database management works. This is the deep level stuff. It includes storage issues (such as size limitations, allocation), locking mechanisms, etc.

Personally, I think Access is a good tool to use to learn the above topics, but don't think if you learn Access you know about database concepts. For example, while it would be useful to create tables and design queries in Access, the forms and reporting modules have nothing to do with learning about databases. On the other hand, some of the Access help topics are very useful, for example understanding relationships.

Sella Rush
technical writer
srush -at- musicnet -dot- com

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