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Chapter 4. Working with Access Databases... > In the Real World—Database Strategy ...

In the Real World—Database Strategy and Table Tactics

In warfare, strategy defines the objective; tactics specify the battlefield methods to achieve the strategic objective. Carl von Clauswitz' On War is the seminal 19th century study of strategy and tactics of modern warfare. Niccolo Machiavelli's The Art of War and Che Guevera's On Guerilla Warfare provide earlier and later takes, respectively, on the subject. Designing strategic databases and laying out the tables that comprise the database shouldn't—but often does—involve open or guerilla hostilities between the participants. As a database and table designer, try to remain on the side of your product's consumers; you might win a battle or two, but the consumers (users) ultimately will win the war. This is especially true when the consumers control your database implementation budget.

Why Table Design Comes Before Database Design in This Book

Production database design requires strategic planning, including business process analysis, determination of workflow paths, identifying physical and temporal relationships between data entities, and other considerations that are well beyond the scope of this introductory chapter on Access table design. Designing tables constitutes the tactics of database implementation. In warfare and database design, it's essential to possess a well-defined strategy before you decide on the tactics. Failure to do so creates situations analogous to the early-1999 confrontations between NATO and the Serbs over the fate of Kosovo and the ethnic Albanians living in political subdivisions of former Yugoslavia.


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