This course has taken me through the discovery of databases. I had no idea that there was so much that goes into the inception, design, and implementation of a database in order to make it run without errors and efficiently. I learned about forms-based database queries and how to manipulate Microsoft Access in order to search through information to find and display the information that is being sought. Along with Microsoft Access I was introduced to Server Query Language (SQL). With both of these server query applications the main thing to remember is that it is important to remember that in performing or writing queries you must visualize what it is you want to display and then let the Database Management System bring it all together and display it in a usable and understandable way.
We were taught about the database life cycle and how a database goes from conception, planning, information gathering, conceptual logical and physical design, construction, implementation and roll-out, and then ongoing support. The nontraditional way of database design is prototyping, Rapid Application Development (RAD), and agile software development. Both methods have their pros and cons. The most used method for database design is using the Normalization process to eliminate anomalies and make the database run in the most efficient way possible.
The course goes over the concerns of database security and how to best connect databases to other systems like the internet, intranet, or an extranet. It covers databases used for on-line analytical processing like data warehouses, data marts, and how data mining can bring to light previously hidden things that may not have been obvious from the data at first. Databases open up the world of information to whole new dimensions and capabilities but they need to be implemented right so that they will be as close to error free and efficient as possible for the end user.
The thing that surprised me the most was how much detail and how strict the rules that are required to develop a good database and make it functional. SQL and Database Normalization are the two aspects of the database process that were the hardest for me to wrap my head around. I can now see how normalization makes a database so much more efficient, and as the planning process goes through the different normal forms the database is made more and more error free and more efficient for the end user. SQL is like other programming languages in that once you know the correct syntax and its commands and keywords you are able to manipulate the data in the way that is needed and required to make the data useful to each person.