What are the best practices of database design? In this post we will look at some of the best practices of the tables and databases design.
Databases are integral to web development because it is the backbone of websites. Although not visible, databases are omnipresent in the web world, and without any exception, it remains embedded in every web application no application can run without it. Every computing activity emanates from the databases that not only store data but also drives it. No matter how simple or complex a web application or website might be, it cannot perform without databases. For proper functioning of websites and applications, it is essential to ensure appropriate database management.
The website performance solely depends on the power of databases to record, store, retrieve, and compare data for which it is vital to design the database correctly. Only when there are a purpose and proper care in designing databases it can become a powerful tool that drives websites to the peak of its efficiency.
What are the best practices of database design?
There must be a solid plan for creating a website database that can help to achieve the desired goals. Ascertaining the functionality of the website is a primary requirement that web developers must perform by following the best practices in web design so that it is possible to determine which kind of database would be most suited. The database designs determine how well organized the website would be so that it can perform efficiently and deliver the right results.
In this article, we will discuss the database design best practices to follow when building a database regardless of its end-use and purpose so that it culminates in the development of a database that is easy to use and delivers the desired results.
Purpose and Table structure
For developing databases quickly, several techniques like Rapid Application Development (RAD) and Scrum are now available to developers. However, you must be careful to avoid the lure of building databases very fast by ignoring how well it matches with the needs.
Too much emphasis on efficiency in developing databases might help to get off the blocks faster, but the chances of faltering down the line when database issues crop up would be very high. This can lead to unwanted re-work, which ultimately creates more problems and takes more time to complete the task.
Define the purpose of the database by considering what else you want it to perform besides merely information storage and retrieval. Consider the nature of deployment of the database or how exactly you want to make use of it. Would you like to utilize it for capturing data about customer behavior and deploy it for some POS system? Or would you like to use it for managing customer relations? The more precisely you can define the purpose of the database, the easier it will be to design it.
Pick the right data modeling software
Choose the most appropriate tool for creating the database because wrong tool selection can jeopardize the project. Several online tools like Microsoft Visio, Draw.io, Lucidchart, and others are now available that can support database entity design.
Leveraging data modeling is a way to visualize the complexity and identify drawbacks where improvements would be necessary. Once you can visualize the system, it is easy to communicate it to the team members. Proper communication within the team ensures that all members are on the same page, which will help to streamline the process of development from end to end.
List the requirements
It is important to foresee the future of the project by seeing it through the prism of database development. Address all the points that are visible by ensuring flexibility, and you must look at the bigger picture beyond technical necessities. The list must include more things than just hardware and software items. These things are important, but it does not do much in creating good database designs. Make provisions for accommodating deviations and changes during the development of the database and software.
Include the end-user in the development process and use their inputs to enrich the process. Speak to people from all levels from the managers to the frontline staff, which should help to gather exhaustive information for drawing the bigger picture as much correctly as possible.
To handle conflicting views that are likely to crop up, use your best judgment based on your experience, and work out a middle-path that satisfies all parties.
Take care in data modeling
Data modeling is a critical aspect, and there are some key points discussed here that can help in appropriate data modeling. Choose between the dimensional modeling and transactional modeling techniques by considering the purpose of the database. If it is an OLTP database or online transaction processing database, then transactional modeling should work well. Again, if it is a relational database, then dimensional modeling would be appropriate.
All database data modeling revolves around conceptual data models (CDM), physical data models (PDM), and logical data models (LDM). The CDM defines the final scope of the database and focuses on the data types and entities along with its relationships instead of pointing to how the database will work.
The LDM helps in implementing the CDM by putting together a road map for the physical database design by defining the data entities and the rules that govern the relationships between them. The PDM defines the manner of data storage.
Use appropriate datatypes
Be careful to avoid using the wrong data type that can be detrimental to the database. It can lead to less accurate data, bloat the file sizes, and make it difficult to join data tables together and syncing attributes with the application layer. Choosing the appropriate data type contributes to domain integrity, which ensures that attributes can contain only data-type valid for the attributes like whole integers of 3 digit is ideal for recording the age of people.
Adopt a style guide
Finally, you must establish metadata naming conventions by adhering to the basic rule that there must be some naming convention, and you can use your preferences. If there are existing rules, follow those and stay persistent with database maintenance.
Following these steps will ensure the creation of the database that serves your purpose. Check out more details by expert database administrators belonging to RemoteDBA.com.