Re: How do you illustrate a database?

Subject: Re: How do you illustrate a database?
From: Edward Bedinger <qwa -at- CARSON -dot- U -dot- WASHINGTON -dot- EDU>
Date: Mon, 6 Dec 1993 13:42:51 GMT

In article <9312011959 -dot- AA18920 -at- autotrol -dot- cuc -dot- ab -dot- ca> kendal -at- autotrol -dot- cuc -dot- ab -dot- ca


>How do people depict a database in diagrams? Do you use the
>"disk/drum" cartoon? A stack of paper? A file cabinet?

What is the purpose of the illustration?

>Do you use a different symbol in programmer documentation than in
>tutorials and "ordinary human" user guides?

Depends. Database concepts are generally pretty intuitive and don't
need a lot of visual aids per se, but there are some cases where a
picture is inevitable, e.g., the structure (relationships) in a
particlular database. Anyone who knows what a database is will
probably feel patronized (on some level) by anything more than
a token symbol, but anyone who is grappling for conceptual themes
will probably benefit from some nice boolean equations with accompanying
graphical depictions of how "the difference engine" works to expose the
needle in the haystack.

[Aside to Bonni and Alun: Hawhawhaw! :-) ]

>Do you use different symbols for _relational_ database vs. a
>general, conceptual database?

I would if my product was relational. This is a big problem because
the definition of "relational" is quite different from what
many vendors tout as relational databases. If relational concepts are
edifying, why not show 'em?


>Ken d'Albenas (not Kendal Stitzel)

Ned Bedinger
qwa -at- u -dot- washington -dot- edu

Disclaimer: I advocate conceptual art in software manuals. I discourage the
use of the word 'visual' except where it genuinely invokes the principals of
'visual learning'-- a manual with screen-grabs on every page may not have a
single 'visual' learning aid in it.


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