Tips for creating an effective database include using an easy-to-understand naming convention for field names, ensuring the database captures and reports all necessary information, avoiding use of null fields whenever possible, using triggers to simplify maintenance and leaving a few extra fields in place for later expansion. These tips help reduce the amount of confusion created when users other than the designer need to work on the database and allow for efficient operation with an eye towards the future.
Simple and descriptive naming conventions for fields make it easier for users unfamiliar with the system to make the most of its use. Programmers should avoid jargon, abbreviations and obscure codes. Working with all of the departments that need access to the database can help programmers anticipate and prepare for their needs, allowing professionals to capture all necessary information without undesired redundancy. This helps ensure that the output from the database is useful to all affected parties.
Programmers should also avoid overusing null fields. These fields should represent unknown values, not those that have a zero value. Too many null fields can complicate calculations over time. Triggers entered into fields can ensure quick calculations and allow important data to update automatically when information changes. Adding a few extra fields to each section of the database helps prevent potentially time-consuming rewrites in the future when the business needs to make changes or the number of departments with access increases.