How do we read the database design you sent?

Each paragraph (i.e., set of contiguous lines) represents a table. The first line is the table's name.

All of the other lines are fields within that table. You can think of them as columns in an Excel worksheet. The first field is usually an ID number, which is a 10-digit number that uniquely identifies the particular record.

For each line, the possible components are:

  • Field name: The name is lowercase, except for acronyms. Title case is used for labels on forms and reports.
  • Data type: characters, digits, or "Yes/No".
  • Data size: For example, "4 digits" can go up to 9999.
  • Optional: The column can have no value, such as when a record is first created.
  • Unique: Each record will have to have a unique value for this field.
  • Allowed values: Specified using a computer notation known as a "regular expression", which might be puzzling at first glance, but which computers understand exactly. E.g., "x|y" means "x or y".
  • Default value: The value used if the website visitor specifies no other.
  • Notes: Appears next to the entry field on a form, to help the user understand the purpose of the field.

When making any changes to the design, use the exact format described above — including the use of two spaces to separate components — because the design needs to be read by a computer program.