View Full Version : Snippet Tutorial: Database Layout

04-23-2004, 04:09 PM
I don't qualify this as a tutorial because of two reasons. One, I am not a database guru, I'm just a simple coder that likes things organized. Two, it's short and to the point. I didn't show anybody how to use photoshop to get these results. I'm just stating theory.

I recently took on the largest coding project that I have ever been involved in. It's a RC Helicopter Flight and Equipmenet management system written in PHP and Mysql. This project requires a complicated database layout (well it's complicated to me). I started laying the database out with a pencil, but soon I rubbed holes in the paper with the eraser. I needed a better way of laying out the database, so this is what I did.

I created my database in photoshop. I put all of my tables on the page and linked them with arrows and infinity signs to show their relationship.


This database has certain sections that have related data, but they overlap, and the relationships are kind of hard to keep track of, so I surrounded these 'layers' with colored boxes so I could visually see the data organization.


I have designed many small databases in the past years, but I always had to keep them simple and never had the organization to create complex databases. Using these layers, everything is simple, because each time that you modify a certain table, you know what you are working with.

I know there are probably programs out there that will help you do this, but sometimes initially, it's easier just to find something and just start drawing (especially initially). When it really comes down to creating the database for real, I might use a layout program to create the database.

I've done some research and found a program called Druid (http://druid.sourceforge.net) that is supposed to be used for that. It's an open source project that runs in the JRE (Java Runtime Environment). I installed the program and gave it a quick lookover before deciding that it was a little advanced for initial database layout, so I decided to sketch it out manually. When the initail planning is over, I will probably give it another try.

I Hope this information can be useful to you.


This project is still under development (April 23, 2004). See the progress here.
Fight Managment Support Board (http://www.raptorheli.com/forum)

04-23-2004, 07:05 PM
What about table attributes/columns and their types and all that stuff... primary keys and whatever?

I don't know your education level either, but I took a course in Databases and we learnt to create ER diagrams. These are pretty standard.. but then I guess whatever makes sense to you and your team is the way you should go.


04-25-2004, 11:51 PM
I'm self taught. I just do what makes sense to me......

I never had heard of an ER diagram, but I did a search for it on google and came up with some useful information. Thanks!