The Importance of Completing the Design Process

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One thing I want to make perfectly clear from the very beginning is the importance of completing the design process. I'm often asked if it's truly necessary to go through the entire design process. My answer is always a resounding yes! I'm then asked whether it's still necessary if someone is only going to create a "simple" database. ("Simple" is one of the most dangerous words known to database developers. Nothing is ever "simple.") Again, my answer is yes, it's still necessary. The type, size, or purpose of the database is totally irrelevant to the value of undertaking a fully developed design. You should implement and follow the database-design process from beginning to end.

It is a well-known and proven fact that it is a bad idea to attempt to design a database without undertaking a complete database-design process. Many database problems are caused by poor database design, and partially following the design process is just about as bad as not using it at all. An incomplete design is a poor design. Only following through with a whole, unabbreviated design process assures a sound structure and data integrity

An important point to keep in mind is that the level of structural integrity and data integrity in your database is directly proportional to how thoroughly you follow the design process. The less time you spend on the design process, the greater the risk you run of encountering problems with the database. Although thoroughly following the database-design process may not eliminate all of the problems you may encounter when designing a database, it will greatly help to minimize them. As you work with your RDBMS software, you'll find that a well-designed database is easier to implement than a poorly designed one.

Databases are not hard to design; it just takes a little time to design them properly. When it seems as if the design process is taking too long, don't allow yourself to take shortcutsjust be patient and remember what a wise old sage once said:

There's never time to do it right, but there's always time to do it over!


Part II: The Design Process