- Hardcover: 976 pages
- Publisher: Morgan Kaufmann Publishing; 2 edition (3 March 2008)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0123735688
- ISBN-13: 978-0123735683
- Product Dimensions: 19 x 3.8 x 24.1 cm
- Boxed-product Weight: 1.8 Kg
- Customer Reviews:
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 467,995 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Information Modeling and Relational Databases, 2e Hardcover – 3 Mar 2008
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About the Author
Dr. Terry Halpin is a professor at Northface University. He has led database research teams at several companies including Visio Corporation and Microsoft Corporation, where he worked on the conceptual and logical database modeling technology in Microsoft Visio for Enterprise Architects. His publications include over 100 technical papers and five books.
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Top international reviews
a Fire HDX every diagram is so small that it has to be zoomed to
read it. The good news is that when zoomed the text is only slightly
The book has more typos than I would like, but no more than most
As for the content, I first met this database design method on an
MSc course. At the time it struck me as being sensible, effective,
and the right way to do the job. 25 years later, I still think it's
the right way to design a database.
The book describes clearly how to design a database and, just as
important, why it is done that way. For the most part it is very
straightforward and simple. There are programs, some free, that do
the final more complicated step of turning the design into a set of
relational database tables. These are guaranteed to be in 5th normal
form (highly desirable).
I feel like I have been warped back to 1989 when reading this book. Although there are some theoretical benefits to the approaches taken in the book, industry has largely chosen to not use many of the topics preached within. In the forwards it was mentioned that common industry modeling techniques were contrasted fairly (e.g. UML/ER) -- but I did not find this to be true. The book reads like a desperate attempt to make a lesser used modeling technique relevant. I was hopeful when picking up this book it would be a fair comparison and add a powerful tool I could use in my daily work data-modeling.
As a text-book for first-time data modelers this book does provide some value. Unfortunately, the explanations are dry, patronizing on simple topics and skip detail on complex ones. A typical explanation in the book reads: "For brevity, relational style assumes that variables in the rule head are universally quantified and that variables introduced in the body are existentially quantified." The examples are too simplistic to actually fully explain concepts - and frustratingly seem to avoid all real-world pitfalls we typically encounter as data modelers. On the positive side, if you have no background in modeling at all - you will learn something from this book.
For everyone else, this book is only useful if you are looking for a history lesson on alternative modeling approaches or need a different perspective than is offered in books focused on UML.
In the end, I think there are better choices for learning.
Back in the University, when taught UML and ER diagrams, I was always a bit skeptic about all of them, as I could never really fit them into one big picture. This book was a great aid to me in this regard: not only does it cover fact-oriented information modeling (rooted in logic -- and so, making sense!), but it also shows the path to implementation (which most certainly will make use of relational databases available on the market), thereby bridging the disconnect mentioned above.
With this book, one can learn:
- an approach to systematically modelling "the real world" (that is, finding out which facts a given business is interested in, and finding how these facts are related to each other) with an eye towards implementation
- how some of the existing information modeling methods (e.g., UML, ER, IDEFx, ORM) can express same concepts, with a comparative analysis of the benefits and drawbacks of each method (personally, this is something I enjoy very much)
There are no necessary prerequites to reading (the book starts lightly), however I think it would be best to become familiar with basic formal logic concepts beforehand, so as to have some familiarity with certain technicalities (such as a brief discussion of consistency of universe of discourse), thus not having to take detours while reading.