This chapter contrasted relational database design with weaker, less effective design formats. First, we looked at flat-file design. You learned that there are numerous fatal problems with this approach and that it should be completely avoided. We then examined spreadsheet design and you saw how constrained this approach can be. The chapter closed with a discussion of designing a database using RDBMS software. You learned that this type of design is perilously dependent on your familiarity and skill level with the software. Unlike a good database-design method, designing a database around an RDBMS does not provide you with principles and a rationale for designing a proper database structure. Superficially, in the short run, the software product looks as goodit just doesn't work as well in the long run as the design method discussed in this book.