Database Normalization process
Find out what normalization is and how your database can benefit from it (or suffer from it). Learn the advantages, disadvantages, and some techniques and guidelines to doing it yourself.
In this hour, you learn the process of taking a raw database and breaking it into logical units called tables. This process is referred to as normalization. The normalization process is used by database developers to design databases in which it is easy to organize and manage data while ensuring the accuracy of data throughout the database.
The advantages and disadvantages of both normalization and denormalization of a database are discussed, as well as data integrity versus performance issues that pertain to normalization.
The highlights of this hour include
- What normalization is
- Benefits of normalization
- Advantages of denormalization
- Normalization techniques
- Guidelines of normalization
- The three normal forms
- Database design
Normalizing a Database
Normalization is a process of reducing redundancies of data in a database. Normalization is a technique that is used when designing and redesigning a database. Normalization is a process or set of guidelines used to optimally design a database to reduce redundant data. The actual guidelines of normalization, called normal forms, will be discussed later in this hour. It was a difficult decision to decide whether to cover normalization in this book because of the complexity involved in understanding the rules of the normal forms this early on in your SQL journey. However, normalization is an important process that, if understood, will increase your understanding of SQL. We have attempted to simplify the process of normalization as much as possible in this hour. At this point, don't be overly concerned with all the specifics of normalization; it is most important to understand the basic concepts.
The Raw Database
A database that is not normalized may include data that is contained in one or more different tables for no apparent reason. This could be bad for security reasons, disk space usage, speed of queries, efficiency of database updates, and, maybe most importantly, data integrity. A database before normalization is one that has not been broken down logically into smaller, more manageable tables. Figure 4.1 illustrates the database used for this book before it was normalized.