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dylan

Do we need a "database design theory" forum

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I'm posting here because I didn't know where else to go. "The Left Brain" seemed the most appropriate of the general forums.

FMPro seems to attract a lot of people without huge experience of database design theory. IMO this is a great strength of the product: you can make a working database without reading huge amounts of literature first (unlike, say, FoxPro or 4D).

However, the time comes when a little knowledge of theory is useful. The other day, someone asked me about "third normal form" and I looked like an idiot when I said I had no idea. I checked out the term later and it is fairly intuitive, it's just I'd never heard of it. This is the kind of thing I'm talking about.

Does anyone else think we need a forum where we could discuss these issues, relating them directly to FMP? Would this be useful for other people?

Oh yeah ... and my question (which somewhat illustrates the kind of issues I could see in this forum)

I

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A forum could be a good idea, if it is used to discuss different approaches to a problem. If it is used to try a get solutions to very complex design issues (how do I design a Space Shuttle?), I don't think it is appropriate. The intent of fmforums is not to give people the college education they need to become good database designers, nor to perform complex designs for them without fee. If you get this far into a design, you should expect to 1) spend some considerable time studying on your own or 2) hire a professional to assist you with the design.

(This is my opinion and not the opinion of the owners, operators or sponsors of fmforums.)

-bd

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Thanx LiveOak.

I was not suggesting for a moment a forum to handle anyone's workload, or to get other people to do your work for you. There's quite enough of that in the the other forums here already (and if this incarnation of infopop allowed you to read my previous posts, you'd see I'm generous in help whenever I can assist).

What I'm saying is: Filemaker occupies a unique space among databases (maybe Access occupies the same space, but I think FMP does it better) in that you can make fairly complex, extremely functional relational databases without no knowledge of database design theory.

This is fabulous! Bring it on! But when it comes to progressing to more complex design structures, it is not always obvious how best to proceed -- particularly with FMP's broad target market and easy learning curve. Available literature tends to (understandably) steer you to more complex tools than Filemaker. This is great for the full-time careerist/university student, but no fun for people who choose FMP on its unique strengths and versatility.

I think my proposition is valid. If I posted the same in a VB or SQL forum I would look a fool. But FMP is such a versatile tool there must be some people approaching it from the same angle as myself.

I know there are people here versed in FMP who also have solid grounding in database design theory. More power to you for choosing FMP! What I'm asking for is a forum for you share this knowledge with the less educated among us. I think that everyone could benefit from it.

Opinions?

(oh ... and I'm still looking for answers to the questions I posted, although I'd be happy to start a new thread for that).

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quote:

Originally posted by LiveOak:

...(This is my opinion and not the opinion of the owners, operators or sponsors of fmforums.)

Except of course that you are one of the operators (or an administrator at least).

Anyway you make some very good points, as the the nature of FMForums and this specific forum idea.

Designing databases is a pretty visual process, and I am not sure how well it will translate to the forums model.

The good news is that database design theory is an old discipline and is well documented in books and periodicals. There is a vast wealth of material out there for consumption.

Check out some of the technical bookstores in your area, college bookstores and even websites such as Amazon.com for them.

------------------

=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=

Kurt Knippel

Consultant

Database Resources

mailto:FmPro@home.com

http://www.database-resources.com

=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=

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Hi captkurt,

>The good news is that database design theory is an old discipline

> and is well documented in books and periodicals. There is

>a vast wealth of material out there for consumption.

Yeah, I'm not saying otherwise. I'd love to have a couple weeks to read up on this stuff.

What I'm suggesting is a FMP forum where all that theory is directly related to (and introduced as a response to) issues arising from FMP.

Because the great thing about FMP is that it's real easy to pick up. But after a while, it's sometimes not obvious where you're heading with it, or what the best way to approach problems is.

For example, it sometimes might not be obvious whether to use repeating fields or to use a portal and separate database. Not only from an ease-of-programming perspective, also from a design perspective. See my first post in this thread about third normal form.

This kind of issue is not covered in Filemaker's manual, nor in Schwartz's Macworld Bible, nor in any other FMP literature I can locate. I think there's a good case for tackling it in this forum.

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DB Theory is not a bad idea, but most of the answers I see to issues posted thoughout this forum often give you the Theoretical reasons why you should consider one type of field over another, or Case over If statement etc.

If you scour the web there are hundreds of papers available for generalised DB theory and practices.

I recently got an excellent paper from Microsoft, even though it did use Access as the model. however I could just have easily placed all references to Filemaker.

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