Sunday, December 14, 2008

It's My Blog and I'll Cry If I Want to

I ended up feeling a bit sorry for myself today. A few hours ago, I heard an old song that reminded me of the first year of my marriage. That hit hard. Julio Iglesias and my brand new bride were my introduction to Spanish love ballads, and to all that that means. I heard one of those songs today for the first time in more than 25 years. Oh my.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Been There, Done That, Sent it to Production

I admit I ripped off the last part of that title. I heard it at the Access 14 Developers' Kitchen in Redmond a couple of weeks ago. One of the presenters had the all-too familiar experience of having a bug pop up in the middle of his demo. It turned out to be one of those trivial things that we all do from time to time and it was quickly fixed. While he was tweaking his code, several audience members called out variations of the familiar "Been There, Done That". Then after an appropriate pause, Doug Yudovich added his version, "Been There, Done That, Sent It to Production." In a moment of universal recognition, everyone in the room sighed and nodded in agreement.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Normalization for Normal People -- How Much is That Doggie in the WIndow?

Many, perhaps even most, databases involve tracking one or more kinds of transactions. That's because, in a general sense, a transaction is more than the exchange of goods for money. Purchases, of course, are transactions, and we can start our investigation of transactions by looking at the components of a purchase as a way to get to an understanding of how transactions work and how the database must be designed to handle them. Next time I'll try to expand that to non-sales transactions.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

A Change is as Good as a Rest

...or so the saying goes.

Well, a lot of things have changed for me, and are still changing, but so far I'm still waiting for the rest part. Maybe next week.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Normalization for Normal People, "How Long Has This Been Going On and Who Else is Involved?"

There is just a bit of irony in the title to today's installment. The cynical answer might be "Way too long already, dude. You've been talking about attributes for WEEKS now." That's true, but it's a fascinating topic and there is still a bit more to be said, so I'm going to say it. This week I'm also going to shift gears and bring a description of physical table structure into the discussion.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Normalization for Normal People, Part I--The "Language" of the Database, Installment Four

After such a lengthy break I feel I should do a quick review of previous thoughts on the language of the database and how it impacts the way we design our tables.

As I see it, the language of relational databases has three components:


Friday, June 20, 2008

Spring Break

Yeah, that's it----Spring Break. I was gone on Spring Break for a couple of months. That's why I haven't posted for a while; I was on Spring Break, okay?

Monday, April 21, 2008

Normalization for Normal People, Part I--The "Language" of the Database, cont'd. AGAIN

Last time, I ended my post with an ambiguous reference to my birth date. I did that to make a couple of points. Well, actually I wanted to reinforce a point I'd made in an earlier blog as well as to introduce one new point.

The reinforced point is that ambiguity in natural languages, like English, is desirable

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Normalization for Normal People, Part I--The "Language" of the Database, cont'd.

When you are able to apply a single, unambiguous name to every thing, or "entity" you want to track in your database, you are able to slap a label on each one of them, clearly identifying them as that thing.

To return to our language metaphor, there is one noun that serves as the name for each entity and everyone can clearly state which noun that is

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Normalization for Normal People, Part I--The "Language" of the Database

In my last post, I promised to explain my approach to the process of normalization. Today, I'll start that explanation, but before we dive into the normalization process itself, it might be helpful to consider a metaphor about the language, or perhaps, the meta-language, of the database.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Normalization for Normal People--Introduction

As an administrator and regular contributor at, I see, and sometimes answer, a lot of questions asking for help in designing forms, or creating queries or writing functions to enter and display, retrieve or update data. Eight times out of ten, the real, underlying, problem turns out to be inappropriate table design.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

What in the World is Access Good For?

A recent exchange of emails with a reader in Australia left me thinking about the role MS Access should have in the average person's "toolkit". Her specific question was, "Should I use Access or Excel for this project?" My gut reaction,