Relational Database Best Practices

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Relational database essentials

Lecture description

In this lesson, we will provide you with the tools that are essential for dealing with relational databases. They will help you maintain a database that can be characterized as:

  • compact
  • well-structured
  • efficient

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11:14:18 of on-demand video • Updated May 2024

Become an expert in SQL
Learn how to code in SQL
Boost your resume by learning an in-demand skill
Create, design, and operate with SQL databases
Start using MySQL – the #1 Database Management System
Prepare for SQL developer, Database administrator, Business Analyst, and Business Intelligence job opportunities
Adopt professionally tested SQL best practices
Gain theoretical insights about relational databases
Work with a sophisticated real-life database throughout the course
Get maximum preparation for real-life database management
Add data analytical tools to your skillset
Develop business intuition while solving tasks with big data
Study relational database management theory that you will need in your workplace every day
Learn how to create a database from scratch
The ability to take control of your dataset – insert, update, and delete records from your database
Be confident while working with constraints and relating data tables
Become a proficient MySQL Workbench user
Acquire top-notch coding techniques and best practices
Know how to answer specific business questions by using SQL’s aggregate functions
Handle complex SQL joins with ease
Approach more advanced topics in programming like SQL’s triggers, sequences, local and global variables, indexes, and more
Merge coding skills and business acumen to solve complex analytical problems
Become a proficient SQL user by writing flawless and efficient queries
Tons of exercises that will solidify your knowledge
The freedom to query anything you like from a database
English [CC]
Instructor: All right, let's shift gears. What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear the word database? For many people, this question is more challenging than it might seem at first. An answer like a big file where much information is stored is not satisfactory and would not please potential employers. You should remember there are two main types of databases, relational and non-relational. The former will be the focus of this course, while the latter regards more complex systems. Although understanding non-relational databases requires a serious mathematical and programming background, some of the logic applied in its coding is the same as SQL. Likewise, relational databases have a few advantages on their own. A small bit of theory will explain why they are still the preferred choice in many companies and institutions. Database's main goal is to organize huge amounts of data that can be quickly retrieved upon users' request. Therefore, they must be compact, well-structured, and efficient in terms of speed and data extraction. Today, people need such extra efficiency because data occupies memory space, and the bigger its size the more sluggish the database is and the slower the retrieval process becomes. If we have a database containing one multimillion-row table with many columns, then every time a request has been received, the server must load all the records with all fields, and it would take too much time for a task to be completed. Don't forget, every symbol is a container of information and requires bytes of storage space. Hence, loading that much data will not be an easy job for the computer. So what allows us to contain so much data on the server but lets us efficiently use only the portions we need for our analysis? The secret lies behind the use of mathematical logic originating from relational algebra. Please don't worry, we will not bother you with math. Imagine each table with data is represented by a transparent circle that contains all the data values of the table, categorized by columns, or as we will often call them, fields. Now, if our database consisted of only one table, a giant circle would represent the entire database. Something like this huge table from our fictional example with the cells database. And when we need a piece of information from the database, for example, if we wish to see who has bought something on a certain date, we will have to lift the whole big circle and then search for what we need. This challenge seems vague and the process of data extraction will not be efficient. See what can happen if we split the circle into three smaller circles, just as we did with the sales database. One circle will stand for the sales table, the other for customers, and the last one for items. There are various theoretical combinations between three or more circles, but in our database, we have the following model. Sales and customers have the same customer_id column, and sales and items have the same item_code column. This way, we can see the circles overlap as they have common fields. So if we'd like to extract the same information, the name of the customers who have purchased something on a given date, we will need only the date of purchase column from the sales table and the first and last name from the customer's table. So to satisfy this request, we will not need to lift the third circle from our database items. This way, we can save energy, or more technically, increase efficiency. Less data, represented as only two of the three circles, will be involved in this operation. The mathematical trick lies in relating the tables to one another. Relationships were formed namely through these common fields. More explanations about this technique will be provided in our next lectures. Anyway, I am sure that now you understand why we use the term relational databases. Some professionals may refer to the tables or the circles in our plot as relations because theoretically, they are the smallest units in the entire system that can carry integral logical meaning. Likewise, the three circles are all part of our sales database. When we combine the database and its existing relations, we obtain the famous term, relational database management system, frequently abbreviated as RDBMS. We hope this theoretical illustration makes things clearer. SQL is designed for managing relational database management systems and can do that by creating relations between the different tables in a database. Stay tuned for the next lecture where we will outline the most substantial differences between a database and a spreadsheet. Thank you for watching.