Before you start creating database entities, spend some time designing your database to ensure that it is fit for your purpose. The time you invest in this process saves a lot of time and trouble later. Professional database designers fine-tune their design using a process called 'normalization'. The normalization process takes your database design through a number of 'normal forms', which aim to ensure efficient data access, greater query flexibility, and easier maintenance.
For example, the First Normal Form (or '1NF') ensures that all your database columns contain only a single value. A column that contains multiple data values is difficult to access and keep up to date. It also ensures that each table row only represents a single 'real world' item. Like all the other normal forms, this encourages you to split your data across multiple tables, with less rows in[Read more...]