This is the aboriginal chapter in an account of Database Architecture for Ultradev E-commerce appliance developers. It’s based on my database acquaintance (and all the mistakes I fabricated forth the way) with architecture E-commerce apps in Drumbeat 2000. I achievement it’s helpful
The aboriginal affair in architecture any E-commerce app is creating the basal database to abutment it. As abundant as possible, you should try to body your appliance cipher and business argumentation into your database rather than into the applicant Web page. This will accomplish your appliance abundant added carriageable and will acquiesce your band-aid to calibration upwards from a desktop database like MS Access to enterprise-level databases like SQL Server 7 and Oracle 8.
Most E-commerce applications use a agnate architecture with 4 basal tables. There may be added accessory tables to abutment things like shipping, taxes, categories for searching, etc. I am activity to focus on these four amount tables.
Before you alpha creating your database tables you should absorb a few account with cardboard and pencil to architecture anniversary table. Yeah, I know, aloof jump into Access and starting up table designer. I’ve done it affluence of times, and after regretted that I didn’t anticipate first. In the end I spent abundant added time acclimation and renaming databases that I fabricated too bound than I would accept spent on appropriately designing them in the aboriginal place.
Again, afore you get abysmal into table architecture it is important to accept a acceptable arrangement for allotment tables and fields in tables. There are assertive names that are aloof for your database things like DATE, NAME, FUNCTION, and others may be reserved. Check your database affidavit aboriginal to accomplish abiding your are not architecture a database and cipher about names you can’t use. It is best to abstain appliance spaces in table and acreage names. Some databases won’t handle spaces and others crave added brackets about fields with spaces aloof abacus to the affidavit why article won’t work. Either use accentuate or capitalize on alloyed words (e.g. first_name or FirstName).
Here is a sample E-commerce appliance database structure. For a relational database to assignment appropriately you should accept a acreage in anniversary database that abnormally identifies that row in your database table. This acreage is alleged the Primary Key Acreage for that table. In SQL 7 and added high-end relational databases, anniversary table is adapted to accept a Altered Row Identifier or Primary Key in adjustment to collaborate with added tables. Access does not crave this and will articulation tables after carefully structured relationships. The table beneath illustrates the relationships amid tables. Your accurate appliance may not crave all of these tables or all of these fields.
Click for a full-sized image
Now that we accept the big picture, let’s attending at the alone apparatus of the database and how they chronicle to anniversary other.
In adjustment to adjustment an account it charge abide in your database and abide as a altered account with adapted name, price, and added attributes like size, color, and weight. You’ll charge to analyze area the items from your abundance are advancing from. Is it all your own account or are you accustomed appurtenances from assorted vendors. If it is your own inventory, you can set up your own Artefact ID codes appliance SKU’s or your own ID’s. Anniversary account will accept it’s own altered Artefact ID value. If you are affairs from assorted sources it is added complicated. Some vendors may not accept a Artefact ID, others may accept an ID cipher but what if two vendors use the aforementioned ID code? So for able database development you charge to set up a Primary Key acreage for the Articles table that will be a altered almanac for anniversary artefact (row) in your table. If you accept a altered SKU or added altered Artefact ID coding arrangement you can use that contrarily set up the ProductID acreage as an Identity Column in SQL 7 about with an accession amount of 1 (Autonumber in Access 2000). Again anniversary time you add a new Artefact the Autonumber will accession by one for a new altered ProductID field.
In some cases your Articles will be altered by themselves. If you are active a bookstore like the abominable Drumbeat 2000 sample E-commerce app it is actual simple. Anniversary book is a audible artefact with an ISBN number, book title, author, price, weight, etc. So creating your Artefact table and clearing it with abstracts is easy. You charge to artlessly accomplish a account of all the attributes of your articles that are important either for your consumers for purchasing or for you for account or added authoritative purposes.
Before you get too active abacus records, anticipate ahead. Will you accept articles with altered sizes or colors. Will they be altered prices based on size? (Think about accouterment like XXL sizes could it be a altered amount than added sizes?) If so you may charge to actualize altered rows in for agnate articles with altered attributes (like size) or you may charge to actualize a ProductDetails Table (more on that later). Whatever you do in your Articles Table will accept a audible appulse on the architecture of your Orders and OrderDetails tables.
Option 1 – “Quick & Dirty” – Include all options in a audible database field. I acclimated this advantage in a quick alfresco accessories abundance appliance that I developed with articles from abounding suppliers. Part of this architecture was artlessly to save me assignment from accepting to actualize assorted entries for anniversary artefact or activity with a ProductDetails table. Under this architecture I had an AvailableSizes acreage and an AvailableColors acreage in the articles table. Here is a sample:
Now, appliance this access meant that on my Web folio I could affectation a abstracts row on a artefact like the Alpine Summit Backpack and barter could see the sizes and colors in a approved argument box on the Web folio like so:
To abode the adjustment the Chump has to blazon in the Admeasurement and Blush she wants. The disadvantage to this access is that you are abrogation it to the chump to blazon in the actual values. If she messes up and types XS for the Alpine Summit admeasurement (which is not an advantage or types FF for some aberrant reason) again you will accept a hell of a time addition out what to do with the order. That is why it is a Quick & Dirty access because it removes the abstracts validation action from your database. A abundant bigger access is to absolute the choices the chump can accomplish to alone those that absolutely exit. This coercion agency that the abstracts entered is consistently valid. Article that is capital in a big E-commerce app.
In the abutting chapter we will attending at options for accomplishing this.
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