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on 5 September 2001
I have been designing databases for SQL Server for about four years now. The only books I had reference to were stuffy, academic books which required a great deal of effort to trudge through.
Louis Davidson's book is simply the best book on database design I have read - however there are not that many on the subject. If you are a DBA or database developer then you MUST read this book. I read it from cover to cover, and I learnt a lot from it, despite having four years experience.
SQL Server Books online and other academic books generally tell you how to do things. Louis' book tells you how to design databases, but also explains >why< you should do things a certain way. For instance he explains why you should strive to get your database in fourth normal form, not just how to do it. He explains all the steps necessary to evolve your database from a chat with your client, documenting information gathering, and developing a logical design through to physical implementation of your database. It is almost like a step-by-step guide to database design and will help novice and expert designers, developers and production DBAs.
The beauty of this book is that it focuses on the real world practical reality of database design, and gives you confidence in your design decisions. Most other books focus on the theory.
Don't look elsewhere - get this book NOW!
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on 20 May 2001
I wanted to like this book .. but frankly gave up half way through it. The author's "chatty" style grates and there is so much padding in this book that it belies the claim that Wrox write books free of bloat. Design is a difficult subject of course but the author's constant "I'm not a programmer and don't pretend to be one" asides meant it was hard to work up any enthusiasm for the author's viewpoint. In the world of DNA applications one needs to understand correct design and why it's a really BAD idea to let your DBA design your application (he'll want everything written in T-SQL and to hell with scalability and separation of business logic)... one got the idea that the author while being totally honest just doesn't understand enough about what developers do to offer the best advice on design! While his enthusiasm for modelling is encouraging, the fact that he avoids the industry standard Rational Rose and concentrates on IDE1FX puts one off further...
It's not a bad book and some will like the endlessly chatty style, but I think one of the slimmer and cheaper UML modelling books from Addison-Wesley's "three amigos" series would be a much better buy and more appropriate to the enterprise or professional developer too.
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