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What Data Types To Use?

Posted on 2006-10-19
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Last Modified: 2010-03-31
During a meeting our group talked about the many various types of lists currently received from our customers. My design team decided that the following are commonly included: item UPC, item price, and quantity ordered. We also realize that we will need to determine and store information about the customer placing the order in order to print a mailing label. Among the information needed are customer company name, customer contact name, customer address, customer order number, and customer payment method. For this version, I am not worried about the payment method because this is well-established, and varying payment methods will be addressed at a future period. When our group meets later this week to continue design work, it is decided we will finalize the data needed. I need  to consider and document what data types should be used and how this data should be stored in the program before coming to the meeting so we can use the short amount of time we have wisely.

I need to prepare a list of the necessary pieces of information.The list needs to include what data types we would use and why. Are the data fields complete in the aforementioned (for example, do you think we need a product description for the final itemized data that will be provided to the shipping department)? Are they all necessary? Are any fields left out or ambiguous?  

This is a shipping application.


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Question by:tristatefab
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Author Comment

by:tristatefab
ID: 17769128
That sounds very fair, I have no problem with that at all. I appreciate the response:-]

Here are my thoughts and please correct me if you believe I am wrong:

Customer Company Name - String
Customer Contact Name: String
Customer Address: String
Customer Order Number: Integer if all #'s, but String if alphanumeric
Customer Payment Method: String

The data will have to be stored in some sort of database. I am most experienced with Access, however; I have heard it is not always the best option. Any other recommeneded ones you guys know of?

I would not think we would need a product description as it would be included in the UPC, correct?  The shipping department could scan it and tell what it is.

These are my thoughts so far!
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Expert Comment

by:kannan_ekanath
ID: 17772794
I guess, determining the data type would not be a complex task in itself. I would advice you to stay *agile*, start writing a simple Customer, Payment class, give the appropriate attributes, and start writing JUnit (or any other similar framework) test cases.
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Venabili earned 2000 total points
ID: 17774869
>>Customer Payment Method: String

I would make it a number and will keep a static list of which number is which method. ( in the database simply made a table with columns (number, type) which contain all types of paying.

>>Any other recommeneded ones you guys know of?
Mysql - it is free
Oracle or MSSQL if you want to pay.
But for your case MySQL seems just fine

>>I would not think we would need a product description as it would be included in the UPC, correct?
Depends. I would put it in the databse just to be complete and so you can make some stats later... But up to you
From the Programming side:
kannan_ekanath gave you godo advices. Although Payment class will be a bit too much  if you just have the payment method thereWhat I would do is to create a table containing all the data for one such item as columns and a class which contains the same for working with the data.

And I would add at least 2 more fields:
- date_of_delivery
- date_of_last_change_of_the_item
:)
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