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I. Database Design > 4. Database Design Principles

Chapter 4. Database Design Principles

In Chapter 1 I tried to present a convincing case for why most databases should be modeled as relational databases, rather than single-table flat databases. I tried to make it clear why I split the single LIBRARY_FLAT table into four separate tables: AUTHORS, BOOKS, PUBLISHERS, and BOOK/AUTHOR.

However, for large real-life databases, it is not always clear how to split the data into multiple tables. As I mentioned in Chapter 1, the goal is to minimize redundancy, without losing any information.

The problem of effective database design is a complex one. Most people consider it an art rather than a science. This means that intuition plays a major role in good design. Nonetheless, there is a considerable theory of database design, and it can be quite complicated. My goal in this chapter is to touch upon the general ideas, without becoming involved in the details. Hopefully, this discussion will provide a helpful guide to the intuition needed for database design.


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