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Database Design for Mere Mortals: A Hands-On Guide to Relational Database Design Paperback – 19 Dec 1996

4 out of 5 stars 49 customer reviews

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Database Design for Mere Mortals: A Hands-on Guide to Relational Database Design, Second Edition lets us know from the off that programmers and software architects don't really make a conscious decision to design an application (particularly one with online exposure) around the three-tier model-view-controller design pattern anymore. Three-tier, largely because of its adaptability and stability, is the norm. All of which means you need a database to underpin each of your applications. Designing your databases correctly can make the difference between slow-running, complicated code and software that's speedy, modular and easy to work with. Database Design for Mere Mortals prepares someone with only a passing familiarity with databases for the important job of building the persistence layer (also called the data model) for software.

Michael Hernandez explains database design in tradesman's terms. That is, he shows his readers how to identify the business problems that have to be satisfied by a database, then proceeds to explain how to build a solid solution to them. Hernandez's approach combines procedural guidelines (first identify critical facts, then apply a certain logic to yield tables, then establish cross-references, and so on) with practical definitions that clear up much of the rich trove of jargon surrounding databases. He walks through numerous examples, and doesn't shy away from the complexities that always exist in real customers' requirements. If you're not familiar with database design, and want to be, this is the book you need.

Topics covered: how to design databases that fit business requirements and make software construction easier. In addition to explaining relational database concepts, the author explains data integrity, null values, keys, table relationships (one-to-one, one-to-many, and many-to-many) and data types. He emphasises processes designers should follow in building a new database or improving an existing one. --David Wall,

From the Back Cover

Sound design can save you hours of development time before you write a single line of code. Based on the author's years of experience teaching this material, Database Design for Mere Mortals is a straightforward, platform-independent tutorial on the basic principles of relational database design.

Database design expert Michael J. Hernandez introduces the core concepts of design theory and method without the technical jargon. Database Design for Mere Mortals will provide any developer with a common-sense design methodology for developing databases that work.


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Format: Paperback
This book is fantastic if you have no clue about database design. It gives you a clear and concise guide to design and includes well laid out examples. It hides itself from any technical jargons and it is a great book for you if you have never created databases but you are keen to get going. It is laid out in a way so that you are able to grasp the basic overview of the topic first and then it takes each idea and explores in greater detail. The useful thing about this book I guess is that it contains a summary at the end of each chapter that gives you a quick insight about what you should already know.
If you are confused and want a easy-to-read book to get started, choose this book and you'll be well on your way.
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Format: Paperback
I constructed and managed a database for a non-profit organization. Then I took two courses on Microsofts' Access (up through the advanced level). Finally, I read Michael Hernandez' book. Thanks to Mr. Hernandez' clear and thorough explanation of relational database design, I'm ready to start over again and do things the right way. It's more fun to get right into the program and start designing flashy database reports made so easy by "wizards", but I assure you that your probability of success and enjoyment will increase dramatically if you postpone instant gratification and learn the basics first. I've read the one star critics who prefer the "techy" books. While there are times when you wish that Mr. Hernandez were more succinct in explaining the steps to developing a good relational database, the benefits of his plain langauge system far outweigh the more tedious parts of the book. I suspect that the more advanced books will be more understa! ndable after reading "Database Design for Mere Mortals." Mr. Hernandez has done a good deed for us mortals who want to learn the basics about relational database design.
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Format: Paperback
My first three years of college were spent studying Applied Mathematics, in particular matrix thoery. I decided to pursue a career in IS about a year after graduating and figured routing and switching were the path for me, it's a binary thing... :)
I quickly grew tired of spending my days on the phones with telcos trying to find out why my frames were down, so I decided to change paths.
I started developing small databases with Access and decided to pursue more robust applications powered by MS SQL Server. I didn't have a problem with Transact SQL or with the mathematics behind the relationships; however I did have a problem figuring out how to begin some sort of domain analysis.
I read the reviews of Mr. Hernandez's book this past weekend and went right down to Border's to purchase it (Sorry Amazon... I couldn't wait until Monday). It's the best investment I've made in books about relational databases!
Mr. Hernandez's approach will teach you how to plan your database so that you can implement it right the first time! If I had read this book 4 months ago, I could have saved myself many frustrating hours!
My partner and I are starting a new project around the first of the year with an incredibly aggressive timeline for deployment. I gave her the book this afternoon. We intend to apply many of the techniques discussed in the book to develop our plan for coding to go as smoothly as possible; and hopefully start making some money soon!
Writing your SQL statements is the easy part. Mr. Hernandez's book will help you streamline your planning phase, so that you can get your applications out of development and into production more efficiently.
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Format: Paperback
While I agree that there may be a need for a simple book on database design without math (I'm not sure about the jargon), and while this book has received a lot of praise, I also found a number of imperfections here. To name a few: - There is no mention of Composite Foreign Keys and thus no design guidelines for dealing with CFKs. - The field specifications do not include the concept of domains, a very important concept in the Relational Data Model, and that although the book emphasizes that the design method is purely conceptual and independent of any system or implementation. - The handling of Foreign Keys is not consistent with the suggested design method. - There is no comparison of alternative design methods although alternative (and obsolete) data models (like hierarchical databases) are discussed. - The recommendation for further reading is incomplete and controversial. - As mentioned above, there is probably a need for a book that explains database design thoroughly and makes it as simple as possible, BUT NOT SIMPLER. I often felt the author is belaboring the obvious. - Nevertheless, the author chartered for us a difficult territory between art and science and tried to make it accessible and usable for many people. In his foreword Ken Getz raised the question why the world needs another book on database design? As if in reply, the author dedicated his book to anyone who has unsuccessfully attempted to design a relational database. If there are many people who have wrestled hard to get the design right in spite of the many publications available on the subject, it means that the current textbooks are not sufficient. Clearly, there was something missing. Times have changed since most papers on database design issues have been written.Read more ›
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