Designing Databases

Structuring tables can improve database performance-- here's how to do it.

While it is often a good idea to use a database for storing and retrieving information in a web application, it is not always obvious how to go about structuring the tables in that database. Splitting information into separate tables, as we have seen, makes it possible to mix and match data in a wide variety of ways. By using numeric primary keys and indexing the columns we will need most, we can make our queries efficient as well as flexible.

Now that we have seen how to define our database tables in an intelligent way, it is time to create some applications to use them. Next month, we will look at a variety of applications that can use these tables, giving them interfaces appropriate for web users.

Reuven M. Lerner , an Internet and Web consultant, recently moved to Modi'in, Israel following his marriage to Shira Friedman-Lerner. His book Core Perl will be published by Prentice-Hall in the spring. Reuven can be reached at The ATF home page, including archives and discussion forums, is at


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