Go Up to Designing Databases
The first step in the design process is to research the environment that you are trying to model. This involves interviewing prospective users in order to understand and document their requirements. Ask the following types of questions:
- Will your applications continue to function properly during the implementation phase? Will the system accommodate existing applications, or will you need to restructure applications to fit the new system?
- Whose applications use which data? Will your applications share common data?
- How do the applications use the data stored in the database? Who will be entering the data, and in what form? How often will the data objects be changed?
- What access do current applications require? Do your applications use only one database, or do they need to use several databases which might be different in structure? What access do they anticipate for future applications, and how easy is it be to implement new access paths?
- Which information is the most time-critical, requiring fast retrieval or updates?