Databases that might be flat
Here is summary for the proposed session. To dispel any possible illusions, I don't intend to cover the "mechanics" of any particular database, except maybe in passing. Any questions please don't hesitate to contact me. As practical sessions tend to take longer than a straight presentation, I recommend we get started on this by 8:30pm at the latest, if we run as part of our regular evening session.
Today databases are central to any medium to large organisation, and increasingly are becoming an essential part of the Web; with the advent of Content management Systems (CMS) and other emergent web technologies.
I propose to run the session as a workshop. Participates will work in teams of 2 - 4 people. A set of practical exercises with a common theme, will provide "hands on" experience of database design and help explore some of the factors which influence design.
A graphical, "pencil and paper" technique will be used to produce an Entity Relationship Diagram (ERD's) and more recently known as EER (extended Entity Relationships) which takes account of ideas stemming from Object Oriented Analysis techniques and the field of Artificial Intelligence (A.I). Developments which aim to better model real life processes. A procedure known as normalisation underpins the ERD development and influences the choice of primary keys, which define the relationships between entities (tables) in a database.
The technique is platform independent, it is equally applicable whichever database application is being used, (Oracle, Ingress, mySql, OOBase or even MSAccess ). So no prior knowledge of these applications (or indeed of computing) is required. It is an essential tool of System Analysis and part of any CASE (Computer Aided Software Engineering) tool.
All the databases mentioned support SQL (Structured Query Language, pronounced "Sequel" ). To round off the session, it will be show how the ERD can be used as an aid to writing SQL queries, to interrogate the database.
The session aims to cover
* Differences between flat files and databases
* Entities and Attributes (or if you prefer, tables and fields)
* Entity Relationship Diagrams (ERD's)
* Primary keys, indexes and Normalisation
* A brief introduction to SQL queries.