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Issue 14.6

COLUMN

Where should I begin?

Where to begin learning to design databases

Issue: 14.6 (November/December 2016)
Author: Craig Boyd
Author Bio: Craig Boyd is currently a data architect and senior consultant for a growing business intelligence consultancy. But in his 20 years of IT experience, he has been everything from a PC Technician, iSeries System Administrator, iSeries Programmer, Sr. Technical Lead, Data Modeler, Data Architect, Oracle DBA and BI Consultant. He lives in the great state of Texas with his wife and two kids.
Article Description: No description available.
Article Length (in bytes): 10,234
Starting Page Number: 105
Article Number: 14609
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Excerpt of article text...

Before I dig into this month's article I wanted to take a moment to say "hello" and "thanks" to everyone I got to chat with at XDC this year. It was really a treat to see old friends and make new ones. As usual, I did not have nearly enough time to visit with everyone, but the conversations and memories made were excellent! There were a few folks I was hoping to get to see again this year, but unfortunately they were not able to attend. Hopefully next time guys!

I would also like to thank Xojo for putting these conferences on. I think they (the conferences) serve as an important means of getting to know the folks at Xojo as well as our peers in the community. If you have never attended one before, I would encourage you to make the effort at least once. You won't regret it!

How to Begin Learning

Last month I got an email from a reader who wanted to know where to begin learning to design databases. They had started looking around and had gotten overwhelmed with all the information out there. So I thought that this would make an excellent database column to wrap up the year.

For starters, there are a couple of books I would pick up. The first being Beginning Relational Data Modeling by Sharon Allen and Evan Terry. When I looked on Amazon I saw the used price starting about $8.00 and a new copy was running about $37.00.

This book does an excellent job of laying a good foundation in data modeling. It is written in such a way that it clearly communicates the concepts and ideas without being overly technical. The book begins by explaining some fundamental concepts about data and then introduces the topic of relational modeling. This is important because nothing else will make sense without wrapping your head around the reasons why things are done in this way. Then they spend a chapter on terminology and more concepts. And from there, they keep building on each previous chapter. If you are new to data modeling, I can't stress enough how important it is that you not skip these foundational chapters. We are all tempted to skip ahead and get to the stuff we really want to do which is design a database. Resist the urge! Take the time to understand the foundation they are laying and it will pay many dividends!

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