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Benfits of ERD creation

Posted on 2011-02-17
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I need to compile a list of benefits of creating an Entity Relationship Diagram in layman's terms. I am trying to convince executive management that ERD's massively help developers. Unfortunately, I am having a bit of writer's block right now.

Some benefits I have come up with already:

Provide an organized layout of complex application requirements
Knowledge of database structure reduces development time
Knowledge of database structure enhances team development

Thanks!
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Question by:ZeterFan411
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ValentinoV earned 500 total points
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Are you saying that your employer doesn't want you to create ERDs?  Ouch!  In my opinion it's one of the most useful drawings a database developer can/should maintain.  How else would you keep track of how table X is linked to table Y?  You'll probably know the relationships between the most common tables from memory, but it's all those other tables that are hard to remember, the ones that you only use now and then.

So the benefit would be: keep track of relationships between tables (and thus indeed speeding up development).

Another benefit in my opinion: optimize the database design.  If you don't put it in a drawing, you'll have more trouble getting it optimized. (a picture says more than ...)

What I want to get out of an ERD is: what tables exist and how are they linked with each other.  That's the minimum.  If the diagram also displays the fields, okay, but it can get difficult to read when you've got wide tables and you can always use your favorite DB client to further examine the tables.

Tip: if you don't want to waste time and paper, just make a drawing of the tables and their links (no fields, just squares with the table name inside)

BTW: there are several different ways of drawing an ERD.  Here's an example of the diagrams that I'd use: http://www.meds-sdmm.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/isdm-gdsi/ncis-snic/definition/diagram-modele-eng.htm

Hope this helps a bit?
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by:slightwv (䄆 Netminder)
slightwv (䄆 Netminder) earned 500 total points
ID: 34925534
-It's more than just for developers.  It's also a must for the DBAs that will eventually have to design the physical database from it.

It's the blueprint for everything to come after it.


-It helps uncover flaws in the database design, AT DESIGN TIME.  

I once worked on project where the designers created 'log' tables to track historical changes/workflow as components worked through the system.

Sounds easy: Create a 'transaction log' table.  In the code, insert into that table whenever a new 'thing' happened.

Code went into production.  Everything was great UNTIL, I was asked as the DBA to generate some transaction reports.  

Guess what:  No way to tie the transactions back to users/machines/???.  ALL the 'log' data captured was basically worthless.
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by:ZeterFan411
ID: 34954834
ValentinoV:

They are unfamiliar with what it takes to program and create a database, so I need to demonstrate the usefulness of ERD creation for them.

Thanks!
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