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Understanding Normal Forms

I think I have a relatively good understanding of the basic applications of the Normals Forms, and I am fairly comfortable bringing most database structures to 3NF and I see the benefits thereof.

But my understanding is fairly shallow and comes from a hodge podge of different sources that all explain the application without really providing the theory behind it. I am also faced with trying to explain it to some other more junior SQL developers and I am not certain I can do that as well as I would like.

So, what are some good references for really understanding the Normal Forms? I am looking both for things to help me gain a deep understanding of them, and to help introduce newer developers to the basics.
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asked Jun 29, 2010 at 04:09 PM in Default

TimothyAWiseman gravatar image

TimothyAWiseman
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3 answers: sort voted first

Check out this books I had from school: Database Systems:A Practical Approach to Design, Implementation and Management and [Database System Implementation][2]. Its been a while since I opened them but I remember having a good time reading them. These books are vendor neutral and more academic.

[2]: http://www.amazon.com/Database-System-Implementation-Hector-Garcia-Molina/dp/0130402648/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1277902169&sr=1-2
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answered Jun 30, 2010 at 06:02 AM

DaniSQL gravatar image

DaniSQL
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I used that first book when I went to Uni, and I've still got it...somewhere. It is a good book
Jun 30, 2010 at 05:05 PM Daniel Ross
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I still haven't replaced a rather old reference book, [Handbook of Relational Database Design][1] by Fleming & von Halle. It's one of the best descriptions of normalization I've found, despite it's age. Plus, you can get a practically new copy for a buck, so it's hard to knock the price.

[1]: http://www.amazon.com/Handbook-Relational-Database-Candace-Fleming/dp/0201114348/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1277900235&sr=8-3
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answered Jun 30, 2010 at 05:20 AM

Grant Fritchey gravatar image

Grant Fritchey ♦♦
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I think wikipedia is a great source for many different things. [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Database_normalization#Normal_forms][1]

Each attribute must be a fact about the key, the whole key, and nothing but the key. - Wiorkowski and Kull

(normalize until it doesn't work, denomarlize until it works again)

[1]: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Database_normalization#Normal_forms
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answered Jun 30, 2010 at 12:08 AM

Håkan Winther gravatar image

Håkan Winther
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I thought it was "normalise until it hurts, denormalise until it works."
Jun 30, 2010 at 12:19 AM ThomasRushton ♦
Either works, both are wrong, sort of.
Jun 30, 2010 at 05:20 AM Grant Fritchey ♦♦
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asked: Jun 29, 2010 at 04:09 PM

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Last Updated: Jun 29, 2010 at 04:09 PM