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Database documentation (Read 1490 times)
Gerrit-Jan Linker
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Database documentation
07.04.09 at 21:10:08
 
Database documentation
 
It is important to write documentation for a database or database system. Without using tools such as the SQL*XL software it is difficult to determine the structure of a database. If documentation is available for the database you can get familiar with a database without having to explore the database with a tool yourself although at some point you may wish to do that anyways. Also, the documentation can be used to communicate specifics about the database to 3rd parties without requiring them access to the physical database.  
 
Documentation will typically list the table and views. Tables can be related when foreign keys are defined between them. Listing these out can also provide much insight in how the database is organised. Views are not physical objects in the sense that they only overlay tables grouping the data together in some useful way. By listing views it can become clear from which perspectives is looked at the data in databases. When the table structure is more to do with the physical implementation, the views are the functional side to the database.
 
Further technical detail can be listen as constraints, primary keys, indexes, partitions, etc. Also programmability items may be of interest. E.g. stored procedures, functions, triggers, types, packages.
 
Most information described above can be queried from system schemas as you can do in Oracle and SQL Server for example. Another source for this information is in the database driver capabilities that often can list database tables and schemas.
 
Using SQL*XL you can write database documentation in the sense that you can dump the table and view descriptions and sample rows. In SQL*XL's SQL editor you can explore the schemas, tables and views. Right clicking on a node allows you to retrieve a description or sample rows. When right clicking on a collection of nodes (the tables or views node) you can perform these actions for all tables or all views in one go.
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Gerrit-Jan Linker
Linker IT Software
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