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Louis Davidson

Design Book–Dimensional or No Dimensional, that is..the question

So, it is right there in the title of the book “Relational Database Design” etc (the title is kinda long :)  But as I consider what to cover and, conversely, what not to cover, dimensional design inevitably pops up. So I am considering including it in the book. One thing I try to do is to cover topics to a level where you can start using it immediately, and I am not sure that I could get a deep enough coverage of the subject to do that. I don’t really feel like it has to be the definitive source on all topics, but it should be usable.

For example, I have a chapter on physical structures, indexes, files, partitions, etc. After reading the chapter, you will have a good enough feeling for the structure of the database to know the basics of applying indexes, partitions, filegroups, etc and a good amount of when and where to apply them.  In the end, I usually direct readers to go elsewhere for the truly advanced coverage of the SQL Server Internals (like the books of the owner of the domain, in fact).

In this case, I am not really thinking that a full chapter is possible, but more of a quick intro. Fact and Dimension tables, and an example or two. The real payoff will be in the case study chapters where I could include a basic set of tables to demonstrate how offloading reporting to a dimensional structure could be done and how it can be used to produce a reporting model that takes the complexity out of writing reports.  No ETL coverage of course, and I would use a complete reload script to simulate the data.

Admittedly, the point of these design book blogs is to talk myself into or out of doing something, and usually I pretty much have the answer by the time I am finished. In this case I am still not sure.  On the good side of thing, I won’t have to just say “data warehousing, good idea, denormalization, bad idea, get another book and find out”.  On the other hand, can I really cover the topic deep enough to make it worthwhile?  I don’t think I can include an example in the case studies and not introduce it in the skills chapters.

Published Tuesday, November 30, 2010 9:29 PM by drsql

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cb said:

Go for it!

Sharing is caring :)

December 2, 2010 10:17 AM

Bill said:

I vote leave it out.

...if you can't resist, i think you should be brief and provide the user with only enough info so they can understand proper use-case...then just point them to Kimball.

December 3, 2010 7:06 PM

drsql said:

Perfect. Two answers, one saying yes, the other no (the second of them was there before I published the other, so neither knew the other's opinion.  Tie breaker?

December 9, 2010 12:14 PM

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