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DBMS

Data Base Management System
an Introduction and history

editor: Cornelis Robat & Tim Vick (1)

part 2

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Introduction (continued)

Assignment:

Your goal as a software engineer is to design a user friendly, solid and above all reliable database system.


The previous examples served to give you an idea of the need to organize information. This part will show you some examples of what a software engineer uses to create a design of a database system for our Bincker's Hotel example.

The first step in your assignment is to get a picture of how this hotel business actually runs. This process is called: Analysis. There are various methods and techniques to perform such an analysis and without getting too theoretical and since this is just a quick reference text lets get our hands dirty.

 

What stages do we need to go through to get to a fully functional system? An example is shown below.

 

 

In this chapter we constrict ourselves to the analysis part of the above diagram. There are various types of analysis:

What all this means is explained below.


First phase: Information Analysis


Information Analysis first of all creates an image on how a business or organization is put together and what processes are of importance. Our project primarily deals with people and how they do their jobs in keeping a hotel running and afloat. So what do they do when receiving a guest, making reservations, giving information to people, selling and serving meals, snacks and drinks and so on? In other words Bincker's hotel business has to be dissected into separate processes for us to understand how this all fits together:

 

Receiving and registering guests
Register reservations
Responding to inquiries, providing information to guests
Sell meals, snacks, drinks
Maintenance, cleaning rooms, floors, linen...
Rostering employees
Receive money for rendered services
Pay salaries and bills, possibly some bribes and other expenses
...

Mind you we only deal with the large chunks here. Each chunk is called a process. And as many roads lead to Rome, there are of course several ways to put up this (primary) process lists but for now it'll do fine. Next step after identifying primary processes is to break down all primary processes into smaller processes. Until there is no part that can be called a process because everything has been broken down into basic actions.

Now break down a primary process into a smaller process.

 

Receiving and registering guests

Welcome guest

Ask guest his wanting (a room)

Check if guest has a reservation (ask name)
If no reservation check for available rooms
...

 

Can this be broken down into even smaller processes?

 

Check for available rooms
Call up vacancy rooms list
Ask guest's preferences
If room available as desired claim room

If OK book room

Ask guest's other particulars (address, city etc.)

...

 

Into even smaller processes?

 

Ask guest's other particulars
Enter last name, first name into form
Enter address, city, country into form
...

 

You see the above examples show processes that are broken down into actions until there are no processes that can be identified as autonomous processes any more. In fact actions are the atoms of our processes. Atoms can also be broken down into smaller parts, but the question is if this has any added value in the cadre of our information analysis. Braking up atoms into smaller parts is part of the functional design, see introduction to program development for more details.


Below you'll see some quick and big steps through this analysis process.

 

At first all elementary primary business processes are identified. Shown here are the primary processes listed at random order.


Then draw a relational schematic of how all these processes are connected together.


Note: processes are not necessarily in correct order or connection, this graph just serves as an example

Important is to determine how processes are connected together. This is done by connecting the processes with lines is such a way that is is shown how one process serves as input or output for one or more other processes.

Like a guest serves as input for the financial system (paying for the room) but also a input for the rooms proces. The finance process churns out money that is input for for the suppliers process (paying bills).

 

NEW GRAPH

.

 

Normally you continue to describe the processes.

Some elements you would like to describe

  • A precise description of the process itself and its role in the organization
  • Relationships with internal and external processes
  • The input a process needs to do its function: resources, conditions.

 

After you have identified all processes you might continue to determine the elements a process contains. For example the 'Guest' process contains a person. This person might have a pet. There are notes on this person and his pet, the guest’s habits and dislikes, preferences (e.g. preferred airline), trips he or she or they booked, what means of payment he/she uses, his/her business address, home address, etc, etc.

So let us describe a basic guest (object).

A guest could be described as follows:

      • Name
      • Address
      • City
      • Country
      • Phone number
      • email

There are many more properties one could name to describe a guest (called: object) below is a small sample of that.

A guest can be much more than just an address

What makes Bincker's hotel so special is that management keeps track of its guest’s birthday, habits, likes, preferred foods, hobbies, trips he or she organized, preference of rooms, the way the rooms smells, anything that can enhance the guest’s well being and feeling at home. The hotel personnel take special care of their guests in a way only 'above' five star hotels do.
So here are some more properties of our 'object': guest

  • Birthday
  • Married
  • Gender
  • Favorite dishes and drinks
  • Dislikes
  • Likes
  • Smoking
  • Pet
  • Important habits
  • Transport
  • MeansOfCommunication
  • MeansOfPayment
  • Trips
  • Wake-up-call
  • Preferred airline
  • Notes


Et cetera.

 

But the hotel does not only have guests, it also has relationships with suppliers and personnel and other types of relations. So let us call this list of addresses our relations database (the address list). All objects together of our relation database comprise our Relation Information System (RIS).

   
And how will you be sure you covered everything?

We will use the mind mapping technique, which is often used when analyzing objects and their relationships. Shown as an example here is part of the mind map the project (thocp.net) is using to cover all subjects at the games section.

Important to this way of displaying relationships is that you put your focus to the object what your business is about: your guests. In the above example that is the project's games section.

 

 

Go Backgo to homepage Last Updated on July 20, 2005 For suggestions  please mail the editors 

 

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