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Chapter 5. Working with Jet Databases an... > 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 Guerrilla 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. Interview database users to determine their workflow and what information is important to the activities for which they're responsible. Keep your consumers in the loop as you develop the database structure. Provide users with periodic copies of the data dictionary or a printed copy of the Relationships table as you make database and table design changes. It's a good idea, however, to minimize the amount of detail in the Documenter reports you send to others involved in the database design process.


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