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The Workshop area is meant to reinforce your reading with a series of questions and exercises.


Q1: What's the best reason to create a database-driven site?
A1: The only real reason to create a database-driven site is because it is the most efficient way to build a site. All too often, sites are built just to use a particular technology, not because of any actual necessity. Only use a backend database if it benefits the function of the site and its upkeep—not because it's “the thing to do.”
Q2:How can a database provide an easier interface to a Web page than just plain HTML?
A2: From what you've seen so far, you might be wondering why in the world a database-driven site would be considered easier to maintain than a site built using plain HTML. Using a tool such as MS Access, or a programming language such as RealBASIC, you can easily create a front end to the data that is as simple to use as any other desktop application.
Q3:Can I create a database without normalizing data?
A3: Yes, but it isn't usually recommended. Normalizing the data results in an efficient data model that offers consistent relations and eliminates redundancy. In some cases, a little bit of redundancy isn't much of a problem and you can skip the normalization. If you're working on a professional site, however, I suggest that you spend the time to develop a proper normalized model.
Q4:What problems will I find if I don't normalize the data?
A4: If you don't normalize your data, you'll find that you're going to have to spend a lot of time keeping your database up to date. A database that isn't normalized has redundancy and cannot be accurately queried. In order to update a database with redundant data, you have to update multiple pieces of data. In a five- or six-record database, this isn't going to be a problem. In a system of millions of records, the time expended searching for records that need to be updated can be very significant.



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