We live in the Information Era; 90% of the world information has been generated in the last two years. Nowadays, roughly speaking, we produce about 2.5 quintillion bytes of new information every day.
Now, let’s talk about data. Data are (ISO, 2015) a reusable representation of information in a formalized form suitable for transmission, communication or processing. Therefore, all information that is stored somewhere is data.
Generally speaking, data can be stored in Excel. Excel is a right fit for you until:
- Your table of data has not more than 1000 cells;
- Only a couple of people works with a table;
- You don’t really care about security;
- Data processing speed is not important to you;
- The accuracy of the data is not crucial for your business.
In all other cases, you will need a database. Thus, in this article we are going to elaborate on the database development process.
Goals of Database Development Process
The primary objective of a database development process is to develop an automated system that could store and process information on itself in order to facilitate the operation of a business. To reach this broad goal, a database has to fulfill the following tasks:
- Develop a common vocabulary
Developing a database has to satisfy a large community of users. In establishing a common vocabulary a good database designer finds solutions for data storage optimization. This can significantly enhance productivity, customer satisfaction, and other business performance metrics.
- Define business rules
A database contains business rules to support organizational policies. For instance, in an order entry system, an important rule is that an order must precede a shipment. A database can contain an integrity constraint to support this rule. Defining business rules enables databases to actively support organizational policies.
- Ensure data quality
Data quality is as important as a product quality. Poor data quality results in poor decision-making about customer communication, tracking sales and problem resolution, which can lead to a loss of sales, lawsuits, and decrease customer satisfaction.
- Provide efficient access
A slow-performing database can bring real damage to a business. Thus, an efficient implementation should be found. However, all the above points should not be compromised, especially data quality.
Skills in DB Development Process
The typical database developer is responsible for designing, developing, testing, deploying, and maintaining databases. Here is an essential skill set of a database developer:
- Ability to perform Data Modelling
To effectively plan a database design, a database developer needs to know the organization he is designing a database from. Data models describe real-world entities such as “customer”, “service”, “products”, and the relations between these entities. Data models provide an abstraction of relations in the database. They help developers model business requirements and translate business requirements into relations. They are also used to exchange information between developers and business owners.
- Knowledge of a database programming language, preferably SQL
Database developers’ task is to design, write, and modify programs to provide better operation of their databases. SQL is one of the top programming languages used to store, search, update, retrieve from the database and delete data. Therefore, mastering SQL is absolutely essential for a good database developer.
- Knowledge of triggers and stored procedures
There is no need to write the entire SQL command to insert, update, or delete data in a SQL database. A stored procedure is a precompiled collection of one or more SQL commands that perform a specific task. In its turn, a database trigger is a code that is automatically executed as a response to a certain event. Thus, these things can help automate many tasks; however, developers often neglect them, which decreases the overall system effectiveness.
- Debugging and optimization
Correctness and security of data is of great importance. Ability to track and eliminate any bugs in a database, as well as optimize its performance is necessary for effective business performance.
- Ability to design and test database plans
Database tests are employed to identify and solve any kind of malfunction of a database. Correctness and security of data is of great importance. Making changes to elements of a database affect many other software components, since databases are generally at the lowest levels of a software structure. So, a database developer needs to be competent enough to modify a system in a cautious manner.
- Soft skills
A good database developer should be patient and open for communication. As data participate in every stage of the product development lifecycle, a database developer needs to communicate with developers, testers and project managers.
Attention to detail and a somehow meticulous approach to work can help spot bugs and errors in a system.
Database developers need to be able to quickly approach and fix any issues that may arise. Therefore, stress resistance and respect for deadlines should also be listed here.
What the Steps in the Development of a Database System
The database development process consists of several subsequent phases. Each of them has its own expertise and goal. The fundamental ones are planning, requirement analysis, and implementation, which are in their turn divided into steps. Graphically the database development phases are depicted in the following way:
Planning in Database Development Phases
A planning phase is associated with a beginning of the database development lifecycle. The primary goal of planning is to define the resource required in the database development process and deadlines according to the potential database complexity and a client’s request. At this stage the database development project is:
- Reviewed and approved;
- Secured with necessary resources;
- Provided with a team responsible for the development process.
Requirement Analysis in Database Development Plan
This phase should fully clarify the expectations of all stakeholders in relation to the new system that the future database will support. This is when an analyst enters the game. His role is to make sure that all strategic requirements are defined: the scope of the system, key technical requirements, tools for each database development stage, etc. Requirement analysis also includes selection of database goals, clarification of the data-related needs of various departments and managers of a company, and establishment of the requirements for hardware and software.
Consequently, the requirement analysis phase comprises 2 main activities:
- Figuring out a problem and its analysis;
- Statement of requirements.
Usually, analysts undertake the following steps to perform comprehensive requirement analysis:
- Development of a semantic data model;
- Development of a process model;
- Creation of a data flow diagram.
Major Steps of Database Design
Database design is a substantial part of database development. The full database development cycle includes its conceptual, logical and physical design. The main goals at this stage are:
- Representation of data and data relations;
- Creation of a data model;
- Development of a preliminary version of the project.
An optimal data model should meet the following criteria: structural validity, simplicity, expressiveness, lack of redundancy, extensibility, integrity, and the possibility of a shared usage.
In general, the main steps of database design are:
- Database design;
- Process design.
Database Development Process in DBMS
Database Management System (DBMS) is a special software that provides an interface to store and retrieve data. It also provides security and protection of data. Usually databases have multiple users; a DBMS is very useful in this instance as well, since it maintains data consistency. The most popular DBMS include MySQL and Oracle.
When choosing an appropriate Database Management System for your project you should consider various factors, both technical and financial.
On the one hand, technical factors come into being when we talk about a system’s suitability for an information system. On the other hand, financial factors are concerned with costs associated with a DBMS.
|Technical Factors||Financial Factors|
|Type of a DBMS: relational, hierarchical, etc.||Software cost|
|Storage structure and entry procedures supported by a DBMS||Maintenance cost|
|Available interfaces||Hardware cost|
|Variants of a query language||Database creation cost|
|Development tools||Training cost|
Implementation in Database Development Stages
During the implementation phase, you install the DBMS on the required hardware, optimize the database for optimal performance on this hardware and software platform, create the database, and load data. Besides, you set up the security of the database at this stage, test the system, and grant the various users you define the access according to their requirements. Finally, at this point, you also initiate backup plans.
In general terms, implementation of a database boils down to 2 major activities:
- Database definition;
- Application creation.
To be more specific, the following steps are taken an the implementation phase:
- Install the DBMS.
- Adjust the variable settings according to your hardware, software, and conditions of use.
- Create database and tables.
- Load data.
- Configure users and security.
- Implement a backup mode.
The end goal of this phase is to install the information system according to database requirements.
Maintenance in Database Development Process
General maintenance is at the core of the database maintenance phase. It implies activities such as maintenance of indexes, table optimization, adding and removing users, as well as backups and restoration of backups in the event of a failure. New requirements also begin to be requested, and this can lead to the necessity to create new fields or new tables.
The following steps come within the maintenance phase:
- Maintenance of indexes;
- Maintenance of tables;
- User support;
- Changing passwords;
- Restoration of backups;
- Changing design to meet the new requirements.
What Is the Hierarchy Of Data in a Database?
A database is a collection of files, a file is made up of records, a record is made up of fields, and a field is made up of characters.
- A character (bit) is the smallest unit used to represent data in a computer system..
- A field comprises a group of characters. It is a set of data values of the same type in the same table.
- A record is a set of attributes describing a real object. It consists of fields, each of which describes an attribute of an object.
- A file is a group of related records. Files are often categorized by the application for which they are basically used (employee file).
- A database is an organized collection of structured records or files.
How is Data Stored in a Database?
Data are stored as a table in the database. Tables are the simplest data storage objects that exist in a database.
What are the Levels of Data Hierarchy?
There are 3 levels in a data hierarchy. These levels are: attribute, record and file.
- An attribute is the basic and “lowest” unit of data. An attribute represents a property that describes some characteristic of an object. Each column must store one attribute of the entity, while each row represents a separate object or entity instance.
- A record is a row that contains a set of property values located in the fields of the database. Each table must contain at least one key field, the content of which is unique for each record in that table. The key field allows you to identify each record in the table.
- A file is a claster of records used to provide information about operations, planning, management, and decision making.
What is the Largest Component of A Database?
A field is the largest component of a database. A database table has a primary key. A primary key is a field or a set of fields that uniquely identify a record.
Database Development Project Plan by JoinSoft
JoinSoft is a trusted custom software development services provider. We provide DataBase Solutions that work. Price and quality are always a perfect match when we do our job. Here is why you should choose JoinSoft for your database request:
- Since data is the primary resource of a company, we build reliable and lasting database solutions;
- Our developers offer more than simple spreadsheet solutions and create a custom-made software that matches your needs and resources;
- We are totally transparent throughout the whole process so that you could track the progress of the development process;
- You get a team of qualified professionals with extensive expertise that really care.
Conclusion about Database Development Strategies
Now when you know what a database is, it is clear that database development is essential when it comes storing, processing and changing large data sets. You’ve also got familiar with a phenomenon of a database management system. To refresh what you’ve just learnt, here is a short abstract of database development process phases:
|Database planning||Planning is aimed at defining the resource required in the database development process and deadlines according to the potential database complexity and a client’s request.|
|Requirement analysis||This stage exists to clarify the expectations of all stakeholders in relation to the new system that the future database will support.|
|Database design||In this phase, the information model developed during the analysis is used to design a conceptual database scheme and design an application.|
|Database development in DBSM||At this stage, the appropriate DBMS is selected to support the information system.|
|Database implementation||The purpose of this phase is to set up the information system in accordance with the plan and project, as described in the previous phase.|
|Database maintenance||Maintenance is the process of monitoring and maintaining the database system.|
Make sure to choose the right developer so that your data is secured, your business is safe and your revenues go up.