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Meta-Data Structure

Posted on 2007-04-07
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can someone explain to me based on their experience if anyone had any issues with the Meta-Data Structure.. I know one of the major problems facing DBM is maintaining database integrity and data quality but does anyone have any tips/tricks suggestions or experiences with such.
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Question by:shoris
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kmoloney earned 300 total points
ID: 18870954
I think your question would be more appropriate in another forum, but if you are asking about the general concept of the use of Meta-Data with respect to database design, my personal belief is that the term "Metadata" is over-used, or given more importance than necessary, unless the objective is extremely complex.  Of course, design specifications should generally be made before designing takes place -- which is essentially the specification of Metadata.  User-defined types should be strongly typed, and is the best example of the need for metadata (so other developers will know how to use the type, or an object based on that type).

With respect to the design of an RDBMS (even in Microsoft Access) we will often use Microsoft Visio to document the structure of the application's tables, relationships, fields, objects, classes, etc.  We'll use the UML template, although I'm sure what we produce is in no way in accordance with the ISO/IEC standard.  We don't do this, however, unless the application is fairly complex.  Otherwise, we simply use a module which consists entirely of code comments to describe the DB structure and development process.

If you haven't checked out "Metadata" using Wikipedia, I'd suggest you start there.  There is a section in that article called "Criticisms."  I would generally put myself in the category of a critic of extensive usage of metadata information.

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by:jefftwilley
jefftwilley earned 200 total points
ID: 18871002
This question confuses me as well in the simple fact that Meta-Data, by definition is data that describes data. It is used as searchable indexing when registering images, films, library books, things that you might google. Anything with a keyword or an associated need to search by one.
Given that...within a database, you are given the freedom to comment your VBA code, you can add a lot of value and ease to other DB designers that may inherit your database simply by creating a well defined header for each function or module. This is not manditory, however, it is recommended. An example might be something like so..for a function

'FUNCTION:  DriveExist
'RETURNS:   True if the specified drive exists, otherwise false.
'SYNTAX:    DriveExist ("letter")
'EXAMPLE:   If DriveExist("D") Then
'               Hey! I have a D drive!
'           End If
'
Function DriveExist(ByVal DriveStr$) As Boolean
    On Error Resume Next
    Dim Drv$
    Drv = DriveStr & ":\NUL"
    Open Drv For Input Access Read Shared As 1
    DriveExist = (err = 0)
    Close 1
End Function


Where the area just above the Function itself describes what it does, how it's used...who developed it, last update..etc.


An example of a module might look like so
'*******************************************************************************************
'**************                                                        *********************
'**************                  code courtesy of                      *********************
'**************                                                        *********************
'**************   IntuiDev IT-Solutions / O. Rabbachin (C) 2000-2002   *********************
'**************           www.intuidev.com / www.intuidev.de           *********************
'**************                Email: Info@IntuiDev.com                *********************
'**************                                                        *********************
'**************     You may use the code in your own applications      *********************
'**************    provided this copyright-notice remains unchanged.   *********************
'**************                                                        *********************
'**************                  Use at your own risk!                 *********************
'**************                                                        *********************
'*******************************************************************************************

'Progressbar-functions
'
'Forms needed:
'FrmProgressBar     (needs: isOpen(), CountSeparatedWords, GetSeparatedWord - supplied in basOther)
'SubFrmProgressBar  (can be run stand-alone!)
'
'functions in this Module:

'Name:          Close_ProgressBar   (Sub)
'Purpose:       close Progress-Form
'
'Name:          initProgressBar   (Sub)
'Purpose:       initialize FrmProgressBar
'
'Name:          Reset_ProgressBar   (Sub)
'Purpose:       reset one of the two Progress-bars, opportunity to change info-text
'
'Name:          Update_ProgressBar   (Sub)
'Purpose:       update progress
'
'

It's up to you how you prepare and maintain these and I can guarantee that anyone following in your footsteps...will appreciate it.
J
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