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Monday, October 26, 1998

Dear SQL Server Professionals,

The purpose of this message is to provide you with the latest information
about the Heartland Users Groups' SQL Server SIG.  This e-mail message was
sent to you as a "blind copy" to protect your privacy.  Please feel free to
forward this message on to whomever you feel may have an interest in the
Heartland Users Groups and/or the SQL Server SIG.  If you wish to be removed
from this e-mail list simply send a reply to this message and indicate so.


RECAP of OCTOBER 22nd SQL SERVER SIG MEETING
************************************************************
The October SQL Server SIG meeting was held on Thursday, October 22, 1998 at
5:30 PM at the offices of Analysts International Corporation, located in the
Broadway Summit Building, 3101 Broadway, Suite 101, Kansas City, MO.  A big
"thank you" to Analysts International Corporation for providing us with
refreshments and the meeting place.  SQL Server SIG officers were elected at
this meeting (see separate item below for election results).

Brent Huscher, SQL Server DBA from Payless Cashways, Inc. was this meeting's
presenter and the topic was "Database Design 101".  Brent's presentation was
an introductory lesson about logical database design concepts and
techniques. Attendees were presented with logical design concepts such as
entities, attributes, relationships, keys, IDEF1X notation, and
normalization.  Brent also demonstrated the use of Platinum's ERwin data
modeling tool.

Brent related that database design and the creation of an entity
relationship diagram (also known as an "ERD" or data model) is an important
yet often overlooked part of the application development lifecycle.  An
accurate and up-to-date data model can serve as an important reference tool
for DBAs, developers, and other members of the joint application development
team. The process of creating a data model helps the team uncover additional
questions to ask of end users.  Effective database design also allows the
team to develop applications that perform well from the beginning.  By
building quality into the project, the team reduces the overall time it
takes to complete the project, which in turn reduces project development
costs.  The central theme behind database design is to "measure twice, cut
once".

Brent shared that effective database designers will keep in mind the
principles of normalization while they design a database.  Normalization is
a database design approach that seeks the following four objectives:  [1.]
minimization of data redundancy, [2.] minimization of data restructuring,
[3.] minimization of i/o by reduction of transaction sizes, and [4.]
enforcement of referential integrity.

Brent discussed the following concepts and techniques for designing an
effective database:

1. An entity is a logical collection of things that are relevant to your
database.  The physical counterpart of an entity is a database table.  Name
your entities in singular form and in ALL CAPS.  For example, an entity that
contains data about your company's employees would be named EMPLOYEE.

2. An attribute is a descriptive or quantitative characteristic of an
entity.  The physical counterpart of an attribute is a database column (or
field).  Name your attributes in singular form with either Initial Capital
Letters or in all lower case.  For example, some attribute names for your
EMPLOYEE entity might be:  Employee Id (or employee_id) and Birth Date (or
birthdate).

3.  A primary key is an attribute (or combination of attributes) that
uniquely identify each instance of an entity.  A primary key cannot be null
and the value assigned to a primary key should not change over time.  A
primary key also needs to be efficient.  For example, a primary key that is
associated with an INTEGER datatype will be more efficient than one that is
associated with a CHAR datatype. Primary keys should also be
non-intelligent; that is, their values should be assigned arbitrarily
without any hidden meaning.  Sometimes none of the attributes of an entity
are sufficient to meet the criteria of an effective primary key.  In this
case the database designer is best served by creating an "artificial"
primary key.

4.  A relationship is a logical link between two entities.  A relationship
represents a business rule and can be expressed as a verb phrase.  Most
relationships between entities are of the "one-to-many" type in which one
instance of the parent entity relates to many instances of the child entity.
For example, the relationship between EMPLOYEE and STORE_LOCATION would be
represented as:  one STORE_LOCATION (parent entity) employs many EMPLOYEEs
(child entity).

5.  The second type of relationship is the "many-to-many" relationship.  In
a "many-to-many" relationship, many instances of one entity relate to many
instances of the other entity.  "Many-to-many" relationships need to be
resolved in order to avoid data redundancy.  "Many-to-many" relationships
may be resolved by creating an intermediate entity known as a "translate"
entity.  The translate entity is made up of the primary keys from both of
the two original entities.  Both of the two original entities become parent
entities of the translate entity.  Thus, the "many-to-many" relationship
becomes resolved as two "one-to-many" relationships.  For example, the
"many-to-many" relationship of (many) EMPLOYEEs are assigned (many) TASKs
can be resolved by creating a new entity named EMPLOYEE_TASK.  This resolves
the "many-to-many" relationship by creating two separate "one-to-many"
relationships.  The two "one-to-many" relationships are EMPLOYEE (parent
entity) is assigned EMPLOYEE_TASK (child entity) and TASK (parent entity) is
assigned to EMPLOYEE_TASK (child entity).

6.  A "foreign key" exists when the primary key of the parent entity exists
in a child entity.  A foreign key requires that values must be present in
the parent entity before like values may be inserted in the child entity.
The concept of maintaining foreign keys is known as "referential integrity".

7.  Relationships between two entities may be classified as being either
"identifying" or "non-identifying".  Identifying relationships exist when
the primary key of the parent entity is included in the primary key of the
child entity.  On the other hand, a non-identifying relationship exists
when the primary key of the parent entity is included in the child entity
but not as part of the child entity's primary key.  In addition,
non-identifying relationships may be further classified as being either
"mandatory" or "non-mandatory".  A mandatory non-identifying relationship
exists when the value in the child table cannot be null.  On the other hand,
a non-mandatory non-identifying relationship exists when the value in the
child table can be null.

8.  Cardinality helps us further understand the nature of the relationship
between the child entity and the parent entity.  The cardinality of a
relationship may be determined by asking the following question:  "How many
instances of the child entity relate to each instance of the parent
entity?".  There are four types of cardinality:  [1.] One to zero or more
(common cardinality), [2.] One to one or more (P cardinality), [3.] One to
zero or one (Z cardinality), and [4.] One to exactly N (N cardinality).

In conclusion, effective database design can help the development team
reduce overall development time and costs. Undertaking the process of
database design and creating a data model helps the team better understand
the user's requirements and thus enables them to build a system that is more
reflective of the user's requirements and business rules.  The act of
performing database design is platform-independent so persons who use
database systems other than SQL Server should also be able to benefit from
these concepts.


RESULTS OF SQL SERVER SIG ELECTIONS
************************************************************
The results of the 1998-1999 SQL Server SIG elections are as follows:

president:      Brent Huscher  mailto:brenth@payless.cashways.com
vice-president: Matt Crouch    mailto:mrcmail@sprintmail.com
treasurer:      Bob Van Cleave mailto:bvanclea@cgro.com

These officers have been elected to serve for one year commencing in October
1998 and until the next SQL Server SIG election in October 1999.  No one was
elected to the positions of membership chair and programs chair.  The duties
of the two remaining positions will be fulfilled by the above elected SQL
Server SIG officers.  Please contact any SQL Server SIG officer if you would
like to volunteer to serve in either of the open positions.  See the
following web page for descriptions of the duties of all of the SQL Server
SIG officers:  http://home.gvi.net/~spyder/sqlofficers.html . 


NEXT SERVER SIG MEETING: Thursday, 11/05/1998
************************************************************
The November SQL Server SIG meeting will be held on Thursday, November 5,
1998 at 5:30 PM.  This meeting will be hosted at the offices of Analysts
International Corporation, located in the Broadway Summit Building, 3101
Broadway, Suite 101, Kansas City, MO.  This building is situated on the
SOUTHEAST corner of 31st Street and Broadway.  AIC's offices are on the
first floor.  Please use the entrance located on the SOUTH side of the
building.  Parking in the building lot is FREE.  The focus of this meeting
will be a roundtable discussion to allow all participants to "show and tell"
what their environments are doing with SQL Server.  Come prepared to discuss
how your organization is using SQL Server and also to find out what other
SQL Server SIG participants are doing with SQL Server.


SQL SERVER 7.0 LAUNCH: Monday, 11/16/1998
************************************************************
Microsoft will launch SQL Server 7.0 at Comdex in Las Vegas on November 16,
1998.  Locally, you can join in the celebration by viewing the event live
via satellite.  This FREE event runs from 3:00 PM to 6:00 PM on Monday,
November 16, 1998 at the Conference Center of the Business Technology
Association, 12411 Wornall Road, Kansas City, MO.  See the flyer at
http://home.gvi.net/~spyder/sqlmsevent.html for more details or to register,
go to http://www.microsoft.com/midamerica/events and enter event code 20411
and VIP code E99.  To register by phone: 800.550.4300 or by FAX:
800.896.9329.


BUILDING GREAT SQL SERVER 7.0 APPS:  Wednesday, 11/18/1998
************************************************************
Join Microsoft as they provide specific recommendations for building
well-designed SQL Server 7.0 applications for the Windows DNA platform.
Topics include API selection, server extensibility methodologies and
approaches to multi-tier application development with SQL Server 7.0. Also
discussed are locking/concurrency strategies, cursor selection and
application migration issues.  This FREE event runs from 9:00 AM to 11:30 AM
on Wednesday, November 18, 1998 at Penn Valley Community College, 3201
Southwest Trafficway, Kansas City, MO.  To register, go to
http://www.microsoft.com/midamerica/events and enter event code 20945.  To
register by phone: 800.550.4300 or by FAX: 800.896.9329.


GENERAL INFORMATION
************************************************************
1. The regular meeting time for the monthly SQL Server SIG meeting is
5:30 PM on the first Thursday of every month.  This time is in effect for
all SQL Server SIG meetings for the rest of 1998.

2. Please let me know if you have an opinion about what time to hold
SQL Server SIG meetings in 1999.  Some persons have expressed that 5:30 PM
is too early to allow for some persons to attend.  I need to know your
feedback, whether it is in favor of 5:30 PM or for another time.  Please
submit your feedback to me via e-mail or by telephone (see below for contact
information).

3. Here is the schedule for the next three SQL Server SIG meetings:
   a. Thursday, November 5, 1998 @ 5:30 PM at AIC, 3101 Broadway, Suite 101
   b. Thursday, December 3, 1998 @ 5:30 PM at AIC, 3101 Broadway, Suite 101
   c. Thursday, January 7, 1999 @ time and place TBA


UPCOMING HEARTLAND USERS GROUPS EVENTS
*****************************************************************
All Heartland Users Groups' meetings are open to the general public.
Joining the Heartland Users Groups entitles you to receive door prizes and
the monthly newsletter.  Please consider joining -- an annual membership is
only $25.00.  You can obtain a membership form at any of the Heartland Users
Groups' events.  Here is a calendar of upcoming Heartland Users Groups
events:

Tuesday, October 27, 1998 at 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM
Visual Basic SIG
At Johnson County Community College
Room CEC 234, OP, KS
See http://www.kcx.com/accessvb/logon.asp for details

Monday, November 2, 1998 at 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM
HUG Board Meeting (for HUG officers and SIG leaders)
At Security Benefit Companies
Corporate Woods, Building #27, Suite 150, OP, KS
(northeast of College BLVD and Grandview RD)

Wednesday, November 4, 1998 at 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM
JAVA SIG
At Step 1, Inc.
10551 Barkley, Suite 117, OP, KS
See http://www.qni.com/~brisk/JavaSIG/Default.html for details

Thursday, November 5, 1998 at 5:30 PM - 7:30 PM	
SQL Server SIG -- Roundtable discussion; "Show and Tell" what your
environment is doing with SQL Server
At Analysts International Corporation
3101 Broadway, Suite 101, KC, MO
See http://home.gvi.net/~spyder/sqlserver.html for details

Tuesday, November 10, 1998 at 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM
Win NT SIG
At Solutech
7300 College BLVD, OP, KS

Wednesday, November 11, 1998 at 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM
C++ SIG
At Step 1, Inc.
10551 Barkley, Suite 117, OP, KS
See http://www.kcx.com/c/ for details

Thursday, November 12, 1998 at 8:30 AM - 12:00 PM
Digital Nervous System (presented by Microsoft)
At American Heartland Theater - Crown Center
2450 Grand BLVD, KC, MO
See http://www.microsoft.com/midamerica/events
Register in advance; use event code 20948
Phone:800.550.4300 / FAX:800.896.9329

Saturday, November 14, 1998 at 9:30 AM - 11:30 AM
Win 9x SIG -- topic TBA
At COMP-USA
11421 Metcalf, OP, KS

Monday, November 16, 1998 at 3:00 PM - 6:00 PM
SQL Server 7.0 Launch (presented by Microsoft)
At Business Technology Center
12411 Wornall RD, KC, MO
See http://www.microsoft.com/midamerica/events
Register in advance; use event code 20411
Phone:800.550.4300 / FAX:800.896.9329

Monday, November 16, 1998 at 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM
General Meeting
At Johnson County Community College
Room GEB 233, OP, KS
see http://www.hugkc.org for details

Tuesday, November 17, 1998 at 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM
Smalltalk SIG
At Information Systems Corp.
City Center Square, 1110  Main, Suite 1540, KC, MO
See http://www.kcx.com/smalltalk/ for details

Wednesday, November 18, 1998 at 9:00 AM - 11:30 AM
Guidelines for Building Great SQL Server 7.0 Applications (presented by
Microsoft)
At Penn Valley Community College
3201 Southwest Trafficway, KC, MO
See http://www.microsoft.com/midamerica/events
Register in advance; use event code 20945
Phone:800.550.4300 / FAX:800.896.9329

Wednesday, November 18, 1998 at 6:30 PM - 8:30 PM
Access SIG
At Johnson County Community College
Room CEC 211, OP, KS
See http://www.kcx.com/accessvb/logon.asp for details

Tuesday, November 24, 1998 at 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM
Visual Basic SIG
At Johnson County Community College
Room CEC 234, OP, KS
See http://www.kcx.com/accessvb/logon.asp for details


MISCELLANEOUS ITEMS
************************************************************
The Heartland Users Groups' home page is at:  http://www.hugkc.org .

The SQL Server SIG's home page is at:
http://home.gvi.net/~spyder/sqlserver.html .  Feel free to offer any ideas
for improving the SQL Server SIG's page or for adding any links.

Please let me know if you have any questions, comments, criticisms, and/or
referrals of persons who may be potentially interested in the SQL Server
SIG.  

Back to the main SQL Server SIG page