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Data Design

Visual Studio .NET 2003

Designing data is about discovering and completely defining your application's data characteristics and processes. Data design is a process of gradual refinement, from the coarse "What data does your application require?" to the precise data structures and processes that provide it. With a good data design, your application's data access is fast, easily maintained, and can gracefully accept future data enhancements.

The process of data design includes identifying the data, defining specific data types and storage mechanisms, and ensuring data integrity by using business rules and other run-time enforcement mechanisms.

This section is not a formal methodology for data modeling, although it does use some relational terminology. Rather, it presents some concepts and processes that are typically encountered as you design your application's data.

This topic makes no assumptions about the eventual data storage technology used to store and retrieve your application's data. After all, it is not always obvious at the beginning of an application design just exactly how or where the data will be stored. While most formal data modeling methodologies anticipate using a relational database engine, an enterprise application has many data storage options, including relational, mainframe hierarchical and VSAM files, AS/400 files, and various other distributed file data structures.

The following sections will acquaint you with some general concepts useful for designing enterprise data.

In This Section

Data Identification
Describes the process of discovering how the organization and your application will use the data.
Data Definition
Explains the general process of defining tables, rows, columns, data types, keys, and relationships.
Data Integrity
Discusses some important ways to provide data integrity, including normalization, business rules, referential integrity, and data validation.
Some Data Design Cautions
Presents some real-world conflicts that influence data design decisions.

Related Sections

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Explains how to use Universal Modeling Language (UML) to define application data, processes, and user interactions.
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Learn how to use the Visual Database Tools to create tables, columns, keys, indexes, relationships, and constraints.
Learn about creating queries, working with views, and modifying data.
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