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Lesson 8 Database design tools
Objective Explain the Use of CASE tools in Database Design

Database Design Tools

CASE (computer-aided-software-engineering) tools are software packages used to design and implement an information system.
(Databases, of course, are at the center of an information system.) There are many CASE tools available on the market, ranging from easy-to-use (intuitive) to extremely sophisticated (and not at all user-friendly).
Database designers find the drawing capabilities of CASE tools especially useful for creating database diagrams. The most common diagrams are:
  1. Data flow diagrams, which display how data travel through an organization.
  2. Entity-relationship (ER) diagrams, which illustrate business objects[1], their characteristics, and how these objects relate to each other.

Some advanced CASE tools are capable of translating ER diagrams directly into SQL statements. Others are used to help design the user applications that interact with databases.
A CASE tool can not design a database.
Only a database designer can examine a database environment and decide which business objects and business rules ought to be represented in a database.

Business rules:

A set of rules or conditions describing the business polices that apply to the data stored on a company databases.
The next lesson concludes this module.

Computer-Aided Software Engineering

CASE (Computer-Aided Software Engineering) packages are software packages which include tools to help with database design. The main goal of these packages is to give database designers a way of representing systems that are too complex to understand in their source code or schema[1] based forms. They help automate software development and maintenance tasks and usually contain tools for system analysis, project management, and design.

Uses of CASE Tools in Databases

CASE tools can serve many functions in database design, including:
  1. Collecting and analyzing data
  2. Designing a data model
  3. Feasibility analysis
  4. Requirements definition
  5. Implementing the database
  6. Prototyping
  7. Data conversion
  8. Generating application code
  9. Generating reports
  10. Programming and testing
  11. Maintenance

Advantages of Case Tools

CASE tools can provide many advantages when used in database design, including:
  1. Improved productivity in development
  2. Improved quality through automated checking
  3. Automatic preparation and update of documentation
  4. Encouragement of prototyping and incremental development
  5. Automatic preparation of program code from requirements definition
  6. Reduced maintenance systems

Disadvantages of Case Tools

However, there are also some disadvantages to using the tools in database design, including:
  1. Cost increase
  2. Need for specialized training
  3. Limitations in flexibility of documentation
  4. Inadequate standardization
  5. Slow implementation
  6. Unrealistic expectations

[1]Business objects: Items in a business environment that are related, and about which data need to be stored (e.g., customers, products, orders, etc.)
[2]schema: A data view which is specified in a language which the DBMS software is designed to understand is called a schema.