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Chapter 3. Designing Your Database Application > An Application Design Strategy

An Application Design Strategy

The two major schools of thought on designing databases are process-driven design (also known as top-down design), which focuses on the functions or tasks you need to perform, and data-driven design (also known as bottom-up design), which concentrates on identifying and organizing all the bits of data you need. The method I describe here incorporates some of the best ideas from both philosophies.

The method I like to use starts by identifying and grouping tasks to decide whether you need only one database or more than one database. (This is a top-down approach.) As explained previously, databases should be organized around a group of related tasks, or functions. For each task, you choose the individual elements of data you need. Next, you gather all the data fields for all related tasks and begin organizing them into subjects. (This is a bottom-up approach.) Each subject forms the foundation for the individual tables in your database. Finally, you apply the rules you will learn in the “Database Design Concepts” section of this chapter to create your tables.


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