Database Design Theory: “Normal Forms And All That Jazz”, C.J.Date

Seminar: Edinburgh, 7th and 8th of june
Theme: Database Design And Relational Theory: Normal Forms And All That Jazz” w/Chris J. Date

It takes a professional to question that you are NOT a database professional. There might be someone out there claiming that Chris Date is not a database professional, but I doubt it. After attending Chris Date’s class, I’m a little unsure if I could call myself a database professional. Yet I’m sure I’m closer to it than ever. Chris emphasized the importance of theory. As Leonardo Da Vinci once said it:

“Practice must always be founded on sound theory”

That’s exactly what this seminar was all about. Sound database design theory. Now you might ask “what was the theory? what excactly did you learn?”
Well, I don’t dare to even try telling you what it’s all about; and why should I? Just attend one of Chris Date’s seminars, or bye his book. You should – if you want to call yourself a database professional.

In the beginning of the first day Chris Date quoted Leonardo De Vinci, and I think the quote quite well summarises the essential of the two days:

“Those who are in love with practice without knowledge are like the sailor who gets into a ship without rudder or compass and who never can be certain whether he is going.”

I thought I knew the design theory. Well at least 20 years ago, right after finsihing database classes at the University and Colleage. Well the theory has definitly evolved, and become a more precise science, or maybe it was just Chris. Two days filled with definitions, axioms, theorems, proof and much much more. Most materiall presented twice, first in a informal way, and then formal. I must admit that I didn’t quite get it all. Chis has an excellent way of explaining his materiall, but (for me) it was just to much to absorb in two days. But that’s just fine. I got the essences, and (most of all) the motivation to follow up reading his book covering the same material.

I might not agree with everything Chris preaches. For instance – Chris suggests a design without NULL values. If I went back to my work with the intention of removing all NULL values from our database, I don’t think that would be very professional. But I will pay more attention and considerations before(when) suggesting to use null values in database designs.

That was all I had time to write for now. I just got to get back into reading “… All That Jazz”. And next his other book (boughton the way home from Edinburgh) “SQL and Relational Theory: How to Write Accurate SQL Code”.

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