4: Designing the Database in Visual Basic .NET

Generator QR-Code in Visual Basic .NET 4: Designing the Database

4: Designing the Database
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Table 4-4. The table of order line items Record ID * 92231 92232 92233 92234 92235 Order ID 10001 10001 10002 10003 10004 Customer ID AA1 AA1 BW3 BW3 CC1 Product ID BEV01COF BRD05RYE BEV01COF BEV01COF CHP34PTO Quantity 3 1 1 2 7
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To get combined results from multiple tables at once, join (or link) their matching fields. For instance, you can link the Customer ID field in the table of line items with the matching Customer ID primary key field in the table of customers. Once joined, the details for a single combined line item record can be presented with the matching full customer name. It s the same for direct joins with any two tables that have linkable fields. Figure 4-1 shows the relationships between the customer, product, and order line tables.
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Line Items Record ID Order ID Customer ID Product ID Quantity
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To join tables together, relational databases implement query languages that allow you to manipulate the data using relational algebra (from which the term relational database derives). The most popular of these languages, SQL, uses simple Englishlike sentences to join, order, summarize, and retrieve just the data values you need. The primary statement, SELECT, provides basic data selection and retrieval features. Three other common statements, INSERT, UPDATE, and DELETE, let you manipulate the records stored in each table. Together, these four statements make up the primary data manipulation language (DML) commands of SQL. SQL also includes data definition language (DDL) statements that let you design the tables used to hold the data, as well as other database features. I ll show examples of various SQL statements later in this chapter. Vendor-specific systems such as Microsoft s SQL Server, Oracle s Oracle, Microsoft s Access, and IBM s DB2 extend these core DDL and DML features through additional data analysis and management tools. They also battle one another over important features such as data replication, crash-proof data integrity, the speed at which complex queries return the requested results, and who has the biggest private jet.
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SQL Server 2005
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Microsoft s primary business-level database tool is SQL Server. Although it began its life as a derivative of Sybase (another relational database), it has been given the Microsoft touch. Unlike Access (Microsoft s other relational database product), SQL Server includes advanced data management and analysis features, and a nifty price tag to go along with those features. Although Microsoft was somewhat late in joining the relational database game, it has done a pretty good job at playing catch-up. Oracle still gets high marks for at least its perception of being the most robust, the most stable, and the most platform-independent of the various players. But SQL Server scores big as well, especially with its somewhat lower costs and its more intuitive visual tools. Originally, Microsoft touted SQL Server as a business-minded tool for businessminded people with their business-minded agendas and their business-minded threepiece poly-knit double-breasted suits, and it is still viewed in this way. But Microsoft is increasingly identifying the database as a development tool, especially with the 2005 release. It was no coincidence that Microsoft chose to debut that version of SQL Server November 7, 2005, the same day as the release of Visual Studio 2005. All flavors of Visual Studio now include some version of SQL Server even the low-end Visual Studio Express Edition products have access to a SQL Server Express Edition complement. (As of this writing, it was available at no cost from Microsoft s web site.) And it s a two-way relationship between the products: you could always use SQL Server data in your .NET applications, but SQL Server 2005 now allows you to craft embedded stored procedures using .NET code, along with the native and more traditional T-SQL scripting language.
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Microsoft announced the release of SQL Server 2008, the latest version of its star database product, in tandem with Visual Studio 2008. However, although the two products share a common launch date, the actual availability dates of the two products are months apart, with SQL Server 2008 coming out after Visual Studio. Since I cannot be sure that you, as a reader, already have access to SQL Server 2008, I have opted to use SQL Server 2005 as this book s core database. Almost everything you read about SQL Server 2005 in this book will work identically in SQL Server 2008. If you choose to use the 2008 version of the product, you should have no difficulties in following the discussion in this book.
SQL Server, as the name implies, is a server product. It runs in the background on a system and communicates with you, the user, by having you first establish a standard network connection with the server engine. This is true even if the SQL Server engine runs on your own workstation. Watching a server product is about as exciting
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