Topics Covered in This Chapter

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The Importance of Completing the Design Process

Defining a Mission Statement and Mission Objectives

Analyzing the Current Database

Creating the Data Structures

Determining and Establishing Table Relationships

Determining and Defining Business Rules

Determining and Defining Views

Reviewing Data Integrity


Review Questions

Understanding how to design a relational database isn't quite as hard as understanding the universe; in fact, it's much easier. It is important for you, however, to have an overall idea of the way the database-design process works and a general idea of the steps involved within the process. The purpose of this chapter is to provide an overview of the database-design process.

For the purpose of this overview, I've consolidated all of the techniques in the design process into seven phases, and I discuss each phase in general terms. This discussion provides a good overall picture of the database-design process, and I hope it will give you a much clearer understanding of each of the design techniques covered in Chapters 5 through 13.

You can use the design methodology in this book to design a new database completely from scratch, refine an existing database, or help you analyze an existing database so that you can design a new database based on the results of your analysis.


A database can be designed by a single individual or a design team composed of two or more individuals. Throughout the remainder of the book, I use the phrase "database developer" and the word "developer" to refer to the person designing the database.


Part II: The Design Process