You may be a pro in developing databases; however, it will be worth knowing some common mistakes made during the development process to keep an eye on them. Even when you know the in and out of this process, there can be some shortcuts to save your time. You also need to check out how the change in technology and practices affects the database development practices and new ways. Sometimes, some of the conventional practices you follow may be harmful to the latest databases.
Even when you can take chances, you may also need to have a concrete plan for database design and to avoid any mistakes. Knowing some tips can save you a lot of time in the long run. We will discuss some such tips here which may make you happy as a database developer or admin.
Avoiding common DB development mistakes
Mistake #1: Following poor naming conventions
Let us start with the most obvious and simplest tip, naming standards. Even though we know that incompetent naming standards may trigger many issues, the majority of the database professionals still do not adhere to any proper standard for the same. Naming standards are a personal choice and may vary from case to case. However, you need to ensure that the standards you follow for the naming of database elements are logical and well documented. It is also important to maintain consistency in naming. Keep an eye on the below aspects.
- Consistency – If you are naming a customer address or email ID field, you may not write it differently. For example, you may not use two different representative names for the customer address field as ‘custard and ‘customer address. Stick to anyone, document it, and persistently follow the same.
- Logical – If you start to document your database naming standards, there may be hundreds of pages. It may not be possible to go through these whenever someone wants to name a field. So, always make sure that your naming standards follow basic commonsense. Say, for example, you can follow the standard of putting ‘_date’ at the end of the name of all columns representing dates. So, future developers may be able to easily figure out the logic behind the naming standards, which will make things easier for them.
You may consult with RemoteDBA.com to know about data development best practices.
Mistake #2: Misusing the primary key
In many instances, database developers fail to use primary keys properly. They tend to forget many things like:
- Not basing primary key value off the data in a row.
- The primary key value should have a proper meaning. Failing to do so will result in failure to use application data.
- Primary key values should not be changed.
- Primary key values are randomly generated by the system and managed.
All these properties are essential for primary key values. With this, you can move data from the system and effectively change the underlying data without complicating or interfering with the relationships.
Mistake #3: Lack of proper documentation
This is a no-brainer when it comes to database best practices. However, it is still a problem in many cases, which needed to be addressed with priority. All the naming standards followed, table definitions, column specifications, and relationships must be kept current in the document for further reference. The programmers and admins can refer to the same to follow the standard practices without fail.
However, it is not just enough to have documentation of the definitions. You also need to spell out what you expect from the database structure and how it needs to be used. Even though it may take time to accomplish reliable documentation, it is ideal to have the bases covered than letting y our database collapse over time.
Mistake #4: Under- or over-use of stored procedures
Stored procedures can surely make your tasks easier. However, you need to keep an eye on how often you use the stored procedures. There are times when you use them effectively, but overuse of the same can also cause issues. Say, for example, you want to make some changes to the stored procedure, then you may have to write a new one probably. This is because you do not know which all systems are running currently with that stored procedure.
Having multiple versions of the stored procedure will make it hard for you to keep it straight and know the sequence of various versions to follow. To prevent such issues related to stored procedures, it is recommended to use advanced ORMs. Following this practice will help to make your database management process much easier and more efficient.
Mistake #5: Poor normalization
Normalization refers to the relationships inside the DB and the method of organizing data into the database tables. Some database developers strongly stand by the normalization process and sometimes err on the edge of overdoing it, whereas others are not close enough with it. When it comes to the following normalization, you may try to be somewhere in the middle of these two extremes. Considering the general rules in terms of normalization, if your data is shared across different rows, you may keep it in the same table if changing one need not affect other rows. If the change should affect other rows, then the data may go into another table.
Mistake #6: Inappropriate Indexes
As we discussed in terms of normalization, make sure that you use an appropriate volume of indexes. You may run query analysis to help decide the number of indexes needed. You can also check the server performance to see how the locking of indexes affects the same. A couple of general guidelines to follow for indexes are:
- Each foreign key must have an index
- The ‘WHERE’ fields must have an index
Some other common mistakes to avoid are hard deletes, incorrect usage of exclusive arcs, etc.
To conclude, if you do proper documentation of the naming conventions, follow simple rules around proper indexes, normalization, primary keys, and exclusive arcs, you can be in great shape for ineffective database development and administration.
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