best practices for database design 2021

The database is the core element of applications and computers and is responsible for storing all important data needed to run software applications. In order to ensure the normal operation of applications, there are always one or more databases operating silently. We can regard the database as an information warehouse, storing a large amount of relevant information in a structured manner, and reasonably categorizing it to facilitate search and use.

Therefore, database design has become an important part of software development. For developers, it is very important to design an efficient database. So why is database design important, and what are the “good” criteria? This article will introduce.

Why is database design important?

Take the example of our online store website where we order shirts. Nowadays, the process of ordering shirts from the website seems simple, but it involves a lot of information exchange. For example, the first time you browse the web, the system will show you a series of information, including product categories, all available products, corresponding prices, available sizes, colors, and other related information. The website will retrieve the data from the database. When the user selects the desired product and continues to purchase, the website will ask for personal details, shipping address, payment details, and confirm the order. The new data currently generated in this process, such as user details, order details, purchases, and payments, will be added and updated in the same database.

Database design is important because it is essential for building scalable software applications that can run under high workloads. Designing the database, First of all, the choice of database software is critical. Currently, there are hundreds of database software available for building applications. We can choose from some of the best free database software, and then we can design a database that meets the requirements. Listed below are 10 optimal database design practices.

best practices for database design

Take everyone’s views into consideration

To design a good database, the views of all stakeholders must be considered. Before building a database, first collect information to understand their expectations of the database and their proficiency in database operations. In this way, we can get the technical level that the database should use, and whether to train users on the functions of the database.MongoDB tutorials

Choose the database type that meets your needs

There are many types of databases, and choosing the right type is the key to database design. We can classify databases in two ways. One is the query language used to define and manipulate data based on the database. Databases that use SQL are the most commonly used type of structured data. However, due to the better scalability, flexibility, and speed of NoSQL databases, they are more suitable for machine learning, network analysis, and the Internet of Things (IoT).

The second classification method is based on the data model. There are four types of such classification: relational database, hierarchical database, network database, an object-oriented database.

Researching the different types of databases and making choices based on application requirements is a necessary initial step.

Define and label tables and columns in a consistent way

When defining data items and labeling tables and columns, it is very important to follow the principle of consistency, which can help us better understand the data. One of the best practices for naming tables and columns is to use simple names to define the data they contain. For example: just mark the column containing the user name as “CustomerName” (“user name”).

Avoid using plural names (such as CustomerNames), abbreviations (such as CN), and no spaces (such as Customer Name) in the name. If you stick to these rules, it will be easier for future users to use the database.

Standardization is the key

The standardization of the database refers to organizing all the information in the database to avoid data duplication and redundancy. In simple terms, normalization is to break up the data into multiple smaller related tables instead of storing them all in one big table.

Normalizing data is a good practices for database design and helps to improve efficiency. But please make sure not to over-normalize, otherwise, the data will be scattered into too many small tables, which will cause confusion instead.

Documentation of database design is important

In fact, documentation is not everyone’s favorite, because it is too annoying. But remember, documentation is essential to good database design, and all the small details can be tracked. The database design should be accompanied by instructions, ER diagrams, stored procedures, and all other relevant information. The documentation should also provide sufficient information for programmers and end-users to ensure that they can understand and use it.

Privacy is the primary consideration

In many cases, the information stored in the database is encrypted information, and privacy has become a concern. For maximum security, we should encrypt the password, user authentication to restrict database access, and use another server to store the database instead of the server where the application is located. This will ensure that your data is not threatened by attacks and privacy violations.

Consider long-term needs

An excellent database design should be scalable, that is, it can still withstand higher workloads and ensure the operation of applications even with increased usage. For companies whose workload may change, it is important to keep this in mind when designing a database. For example: If an e-commerce website expects that when sales increase, visitors will increase rapidly within a month, then this should be taken into consideration when designing the database so that the database can respond to the rapidly growing visitors and maintain a high level of work Operates under load.

Code and use of stored procedures

One of the common mistakes in database design is not to use stored procedures. The pre-stored program refers to the pre-stored code string that can be used at any time when operating data. For example, if there is an SQL query that is a commonly used operation instruction, write it into the stored program in advance instead of writing it again when it is used, which will make the work easier. Once you have a stored program, you can execute and load this SQL query in one step when needed.

Writing a large number of stored programs is a laborious task, but if it takes time to complete and document it, it will be easier for the end-user to use the database.

Invest time in database modeling and design

One of the professional skills of good database design is to invest time and energy in database modeling and design. A common mistake for developers is to ignore this step to save time and focus on other more important aspects of software development. However, database design is critical to ensuring the functionality of the application. If you just want to save time and don’t think about the design carefully, you will need to spend more time maintaining the database and even redesigning it in the future.

Test design

Testing is also a very critical step in database design, and it is often overlooked or even skipped altogether just to catch up with DDL. We should take some time to thoroughly test the database design before releasing the project to ensure that it meets all planned requirements and is functioning properly.


Concluding remarks

For data-centric projects, database design is extremely important, and we should also treat it with caution during the development process. The database design practices mentioned in the article, such as making appropriate plans for long-term needs, choosing the right database type, using consistent names and labels, data standardization, database design documentation, and testing in advance, are our excellent design Key issues to consider when database.

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