Data Architecture and Database Design Made Easy With ER/Studio
But now, let’s create a new project.
Figure 3: The Create a New Model dialog.
As you can see in the screen shot above, you can choose Draw a new data model, Reverse-engineer an existing database, or Import Model from [a file].
The second and third options are very interesting when you wish to use ER/Studio with your already existing databases or switch to ER/Studio from other modeling tools like ErWIN or MIMB.
If you decide to reverse engineer an existing database, a wizard will be launched that connects to the database (via ODBC or native) and reads the system catalog. From that extracted DDL, a new data model will be created.
When you choose to import a model, you can choose to import one created in other modeling tools or you can choose to import an SQL-File containing the DDL for tables, views, indexes, and so on.
For this review, I’ve decided to draw a new data model. After you’ve clicked OK, you will see the empty data model workspace that is about to be filled with life. The design of a database starts with the design of the logical model. On the logical design level, you create entities with attributes. A right-click on the Entities entry in the tree view let’s you create a new entity.
Figure 4: Opening the New Entity dialog.
The Entity Editor is probably the main interface you will deal with when designing the logical model. From here, you can start almost any necessary action like add, alter, or delete attributes, or create keys and constraints.
Figure 5: Entity Editor.
Once you’re finished with the logical design of your database, you might want to check your model to verify that everything is just as it should be before you create the physical model. You can do so by using the Validate the Logical Model feature. Once you’ve clicked on it, a typical Windows wizard pops up and let’s you specify what should be checked in the logical model.
Figure 6: Validate Logical Model wizard, page 1.
In the above screen shot, notice that you can check for common mistakes like entities without a primary key constraint or names with embedded spaces, things that might cause trouble during later stages in the life cycle. Once you are done with your parameters, you click Finish and let the wizard do its work. The report can be generated in different formats like RTF or HTML.
Most of the complex operations in ER/Studio are wizard driven, just as one would expect them to be. These wizards greatly add to the user-friendliness of the program and make working with it fast and efficient.