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Database beginner needs design help

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  • Database beginner needs design help

    I am trying to build a rather robust system, and from what I'm seeing planning the database is basically the most important part - like the foundation of a house. Now, I know nothing about databases or how they work, so I'm learning as I go.

    I've started outlining the database and I'm running into a couple questions.
    #1 - Am I simply making too many tables?
    #2 - I cannot grasp the difference between one-to-one and one-to-many links

    I haven't created the tables yet, I'm outlining them as directed in IBS's Alpha Five Version 8 Level 1 Learning Guide (I'm using v8 currently).

    So here are the tables currently on my list:
    Customer
    Orders
    Order Detail
    Vendors
    Products
    Sales Reps
    Employees
    Departments
    Payment_Method
    Delivery_Method
    Account_Status - I have several standard "status" for my customers - Account, COD, etc. was planning on putting the options here

    Price_Level - I have 4 different price levels based on customers. planning on putting each level here, allowing us to select level from drop down

    Authorized_Purchasers
    Purchase_Orders


    Another question: We accept cash, check and credit cards. I can't decide if I should have a table for each type of payment, or if I need a blanket table that can cover all options or what.

    As you can see, I need help - if anyone has any resources they can direct me to it would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks!

  • #2
    Re: Database beginner needs design help

    Jeremy,
    What you are describing is an extension of the AlphaSport database. That database is a learning tool and would be a very good start for your application.
    Mike W
    __________________________
    "I rebel in at least small things to express to the world that I have not completely surrendered"

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Database beginner needs design help

      Check out this book also:

      Database Design for Mere Mortals(R): A Hands-On Guide to Relational Database Design by Michael J. Hernandez

      It is a non-program specific approach to designing dbs before you ever create a table.

      I keep it right on my desk ( ok behind me in the book case.)

      I give it a 4.5 of 5

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Database beginner needs design help

        Hey Mike,
        I actually have been checking out the Alpha Sports app - it's helped a bit, but there's lots of stuff I can't find (for instance handling payments - the info I find is very sparse).

        Scott: Thanks for the reference, I will check that out!

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Database beginner needs design help

          Another note: many of the tables are the same name as the Alpha Sports database - that's because the Learning Guide I am going through uses Alpha Sports as a training tool, and I just copied the majority of what made sense.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Database beginner needs design help

            I went ahead and ordered the book Scott recommended (would you believe under $10 after shipping on Amazon?). I guess I'll see where that takes me.

            Thanks!

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Database beginner needs design help

              I don't think you'll be disappointed. I've misplaced the disk that came with it that you can print the design forms. :-(

              Would be interested in knowing what you think after you give it a read.

              -S

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Database beginner needs design help

                Originally posted by Scott Axton View Post
                I don't think you'll be disappointed. I've misplaced the disk that came with it that you can print the design forms. :-(

                Would be interested in knowing what you think after you give it a read.

                -S

                Does anyone have that disk, I cannot find my copy and would welcome access to those forms?
                Glen Schild



                My Blog

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Database beginner needs design help

                  Originally posted by Scott Axton View Post
                  I don't think you'll be disappointed. I've misplaced the disk that came with it that you can print the design forms. :-(

                  Would be interested in knowing what you think after you give it a read.

                  -S
                  Very good stuff. To an extent I had done some of the stuff, but I have a much better idea of what to do now. I can't imagine what would have happened if I'd seen this project thru to completion without reading that.
                  I have coded a few basic applications in VB.NET, but aside from that I'm pretty new to this stuff, especially on the database side.
                  As for the forms - he has blanks in the back of the book that you can copy and re-print out for yourself (mine didn't come with a disk).

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Database beginner needs design help

                    Jeremy

                    For me the book was both enlightening and terrifying!

                    Enlightening as it rationalised a lot that I knew and much that I did not!

                    Terrifying as I soon realised how BIG some of the mistakes I had made in prior work:-)

                    Regards

                    Glen
                    Glen Schild



                    My Blog

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Database beginner needs design help

                      I agree with Glen - It is amazing how you try and cram all of the data in to one big file until you learn the "way it should be" and why.

                      PS I sent you a PM if you want the disk.

                      -S

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Database beginner needs design help

                        Thanks for the files Scott - I think maybe I got the first edition of the book, the appendix is a lot different.

                        Ok now a database design question:

                        Here is my table list now:
                        Suppliers
                        Customers
                        Employees
                        Products
                        Quotes
                        Orders
                        Order Details
                        Machines
                        Materials
                        Shipments
                        Purchase Orders
                        RFQs
                        Hours Worked
                        Deliveries
                        Days Off

                        I'm starting to get confused - there is an Orders table, and an Order Details table. So I fell like I should have a Machine Details table, Product Details, Purchase Order Details tables as well. Help please?

                        Also, as far as the Deliveries and Days off - I want those to be calendars - days off would be company-wide so we can all see who is off at any time, deliveries also viewable by anyone, but separate from the days off calendar. Do I actually need a table for those? I'm thinking so, but not really sure.
                        Last edited by jweasl; 06-04-2009, 07:12 PM.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Database beginner needs design help

                          Originally posted by jweasl View Post
                          I'm starting to get confused - there is an Orders table, and an Order Details table. So I fell like I should have a Machine Details table, Product Details, Purchase Order Details tables as well. Help please?
                          Think of it this way: only group (i.e. tables) by similar items. What, if anything, differentiates the Orders table from the Order Details table? If the detail is multiple discrete items belonging to each order, then it makes sense for that to be a separate table. But if each order has only one related detail item, it probably makes sense to combine them into one table. Ditto for the others.


                          Also, as far as the Deliveries and Days off - I want those to be calendars - days off would be company-wide so we can all see who is off at any time, deliveries also viewable by anyone, but separate from the days off calendar. Do I actually need a table for those? I'm thinking so, but not really sure.
                          How would you itemize days off or deliveries, if not in a table? Sounds like you need two tables for this.
                          Peter
                          AlphaBase Solutions, LLC

                          Peter@AlphaBaseSolutions.com
                          https://www.alphabasesolutions.com


                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Database beginner needs design help

                            I'm thinking Hours Worked and Days Off are the same concept of staff scheduling and combined in one table. Also, if details involves a memo field, the practice of having this in a separate table is advised.
                            Mike W
                            __________________________
                            "I rebel in at least small things to express to the world that I have not completely surrendered"

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Database beginner needs design help

                              Thanks Peter - that makes sense. The database concept still isn't fully formed in my mind - I've been using Excel for far too long and have to rid my mind of old notions.

                              Mike,
                              I'll combine those and see how that goes.

                              Thanks!

                              Comment

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