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Online SQL Design

Sat, 07/14/2007 - 9:49am by ejk

We've had some great development meetings this week regarding a project that will overhaul our events handling. There are some significant design goals for this project, both on the staff and the public sides of the interface. This is turning out to be a very large project, so we're working the software engineering process to try to catch any problems before we're knee-deep in code. We've got a good set of requirements that have gone through feedback from staff, so now we're translating those into our design, starting with our database.

Our starting point was to identify the tables we would need, with a rough diagram of their relationships. This was done on a whiteboard in an office during a meeting. The next step was to list the individual fields we would need in each table. Our initial method was to list all the data elements in a file, but it was hard to see the relationships between the large number of tables just by looking at a long list of text. Then Ryan pointed out an online tool he found that might be able to do the database design graphically, which includes a MySQL export.

Here's what it looks like:
Image removed.

While similar standalone products can run in the hundreds of dollars, this one is available for free as an online demo. It made it easy to add/remove fields to tables, rename elements, and make connections between the tables. Once your design is completed, you can export a MySQL script to create your entire database on one step. You can also save an XML file to reload your design into the tool. Very cool, and very useful.

Online SQL Designer: http://ondras.praha12.net/sql/demo

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