The database drives the speed and efficiency of your website. A good database design can make any website fast, but a poor design can drive performance into the ground. Google announced that website performance is a part of the algorithm, so keeping a website fast is good for search engine optimization to increase web traffic. Here are five tips for a good website design.
Insert a Primary Key for All Tables
Primary keys are clustered indexes. You can only have one clustered index on a table, so you can only have one primary key. Primary keys must contain unique data in each row, which means you can use the primary key to identify a record such as a customer or order. Typically, primary keys are used on an auto-incrementing numeric column, but database administrators also use them on “DateTime” data types and columns that identify users uniquely such as a social security number.
Foreign Keys and Data Integrity
Foreign keys are identifiers in a table that preserve data integrity. For instance, in an “orders” table, place the “customerid” foreign key in the table. You can then link a customer to an order using the foreign key. Setting a foreign key preserves data integrity, because you cannot delete the customer record without deleting the order first. This feature eliminates orphaned records from the system, which causes errors in your website application.
Normalizing Your Tables
The concept of normalization can take up an entire book. Normalization keeps the database fast and efficient. Normalization involves “flattening out” the data, so each component of your website has its own table. Each table represents an item such as a customer, an order, order details and other information. The data is not duplicated, and each table can be linked in queries. The main use for normalization is to keep data integrity, and to stop data from being duplicated. Duplicate data causes logic errors in your application.
Query on Indexed Columns
Indexed columns are sorted by the database engine, and each column on which you query should have an index. When you design your stored procedures, query on the indexes to speed up the process. Always join tables on the indexes as well. Joining and using indexes in the query’s “where” clause significantly speeds up an application in the database backend. The primary key is a clustered index, and additional indexes are non-clustered. You can have as many non-clustered indexes as you need, but ensure you do not use too many indexes on a table, which can actually cause performance degradation.
Design the Table Before the Application
The database design is the driving force for your application. To create an efficient application, design the database tables first. When you design the tables first, you cover all of the application properties methods and user-required activities and you can view all table keys, indexes and data. It also keeps you from making mistakes with the data during the programming process.
These five tips help you create a database that keeps your website application fast and efficient. Use these tips while designing any backend database engine such as MySQL, MSSQL or Oracle. The database can make or break an application, so take care when designing your tables. After the database is designed, you can start coding the web application to see it come to life.
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