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Issue 12.1 ('Smart Localization')
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Database Standards

Databases are code too and should be treated that way

Issue: 12.1 (January/February 2014)
Author: Craig Boyd
Author Bio: Craig Boyd is currently an Oracle DBA for a well-known national retailer. But in his 17 years of IT experience, he has been everything from a PC Technician, iSeries System Administrator, iSeries Programmer, Sr. Technical Lead, and Data Modeler. He lives in the great state of Texas with his wife and two kids.
Article Description: No description available.
Article Length (in bytes): 8,333
Starting Page Number: 75
Article Number: 12110
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Excerpt of article text...

I think most of us would agree that standards and consistency are important. The longer we code we get into habits of naming variables, methods, classes, objects, etc. When we work in groups or teams we create a standards document so that we all code the same way. Why? Because it makes everyone's life much easier. I can pick up Joe's code when he goes out for a two-week vacation and not have to wonder what Vx779 means. It makes it easier to understand the other person's logic when I don't have to spend time decoding method, class, variable, or object names. This also means that when a new person comes into the group they can be brought up to speed much sooner. Standards make code reviews easier for all the above reasons. Time can be spent on how to optimize code or learn new tricks from other developers instead of spending the time decoding the code and THEN trying to understand it.

The same can be said for database design.

Let's take the new guy joining the team example. You give him the coding standards document and tell him to read it and learn it. Then you show them how to pull code from your source code repository. Things are going pretty well. Then you ask him to build a maintenance screen for a transaction table that is about thirty-five columns wide. You give him the connection parameters to the development database. He connects and runs a couple SQL SELECT statements. The results are what you see in Figure 1.

The resulting conversion goes like this:

JR: So where is the documentation on the database?

SR: ...

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