What is a Database?

Database: One of the fundamentals and pillars of computation and technology. A database is basically an organized collection of all the data associated with a specific unit/category.

This data is specifically modeled so it can portray particular aspects of the reality.

The Database management systems are applications that are designed in such a way that they interact with the user. These software systems are designed so that they can be defined, created, answer queries, undated and can administer databases.

While databases are present in almost every strata and type of application in today’s tech-obsessed world, there are very few people who are actually well-acquainted with the terms related to it. Here’s a quick look at the terminologies associated with databases:

  1. The term ‘database’ refers to a particular structure of data. Databases are designed keeping in mind all that is required to structure the data and information so they can be stored in an effective and efficient manner.
  2. The term ‘Database Management System’ is an application that enables the successful structuring of the data and information. It is basically an interface between the database and the user.
  3. The term ‘Data Definition’ refers to new data structure entitled for a database, elimination of data from a database and last but not the least, modification of the structure of the existing data.
  4. The term ‘Update’ refers to the insertion, modification and deletion of the data.
  5. The term ‘Retrieval’ refers to acquiring information about a particular set of information for queries by end-users, for reports or processing by applications.
  6. The term ‘Administration’ refers to the registration and monitoring of users, ensuring security of data, monitoring the performance, maintaining the integrity of data, dealing with the concurrency control and recovering all the information stored in case there is a system failure.

 

In short, a Database Management System is responsible for the storage of data and information, updating the data, modifying it and recovering it in case a system failure occurs.

Database is one of those fields of technology that needs the right designing skills to get an efficient database management system. 

Here are a few common mistakes that are made while designing a database

Poor planning or designing

A good database needs planning and proper designing followed by its execution. Before getting on the design, the categories of data are sorted out, followed by listing the needs of the database management system so that the designed system can meet the requirements.

Lack of proper planning or designing can result in complications at a later phase of the DBMS, which can be difficult to tackle. So it is best to sort out the requirements and the necessary programming beforehand and proceed accordingly.

Ignoring Normalization

Normalization refers to a set of procedures for breaking down tables to their constituent parts such that each table characterizes only one thing of a specific type.  Normalization of the data and information is necessary for the better performance of the system.

A well-normalized system is easy to use and develop. But then the essential question that pops up is; how much normalization is necessary for that perfect performance of the system? 

It’s rather easy. While 3rd Normal Form is essential, normalization up to the 4th and 5thsteps ensures better performance, which is necessary for your system. Normalization up to 4th and 5th forms helps when you structure your database management system better and effectively.

Setting your naming standards poorly

This is perhaps the most crucial part of database design. When choosing a name for a certain table, always go for a name that can be easily referred to and understood by future programmers of the database management system.

Always opt for consistency when choosing a name for a table of data. The name of your table enables you and other programmers to know exactly what the table refers to and what the data stored is about and what it is for. A vague name leaves the programmer clueless resulting in confusion and delays the programming.

No proper documentation

While it is essential to name your table right, it is even more essential to model your database right. Program your database such that you have modeled it clearly and concisely.

A well-defined database must have a great naming standard, it must have definitions on its columns, tables, relationships, as well as check and default constraints. Proper documentation of your database must be done so perfectly that other programmers can figure out the process and sort out the minor errors and bugs if necessary.

Not using the proper SQL facilities to guard the integrity of the data

It is important to take the necessary steps to ensure that the data in your database is safe. It should be taken care of by using a relational engine.

Base rules like string strength, null-ability, the assignment of the foreign keys etc must be characterized in the database.

Not using a set of stored procedures to access the data

Stored procedures make the task easy. The system is easy to maintain with stored procedures. It lets you encapsulate any kind of structural changes that you make to the database.

Along with that, stored procedures let you have granular and specific access to the database management system.

Conclusion

The designing and implementation of a database management system is the strongest point of any data centric assignment. 

Therefore, it is necessary to develop it in a clear and concise manner. Planning in the right way, using the proper normalization, using good and strong naming standards, and documenting the changes made to the database are some key points to create and maintain a good database. 

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