Re: Is there actual disagreement on what 1NF, 2NF and 3NF mean or is this sloppiness or ignorance on

From: joel garry <>
Date: Fri, 7 Aug 2009 09:42:07 -0700 (PDT)
Message-ID: <>

On Aug 7, 4:58 am, dana <> wrote:
> Is there reasonable disagreement on what 1NF, 2NF and 3NF mean? Or is
> the variety of contradictory in-print definitions of Normal Forms due
> to sloppy thinking, slopping writing, or plain old ignorance from
> authors? Also, where can I find an accurate, concise (less than 3
> sentences for each NF), and easy-for-any-IT-person-to-understand,
> definition of Normal Forms 1 through 3?
> My understanding of NFs 1 through 3 is as follows. I look forward to
> being corrected--but hopefully in a polite, constructive, professional
> manner. I'm leaving out any mention of relations and relvars here,
> because I don't expect the typical IT person to know what those are
> (although it can be argued, convincingly I think, that they should): is about as good as it gets.


> Finally, what are some good books out there on database design for
> neophytes and experienced folks alike that gets the theory correct
> while not getting mired in what relational databases *could* be. I
> read a really great book by Fabian Pascal, the title of which escapes
> me, which I need to go and buy--believe it had the word Practitioner
> in it.

Screw that (a professional phrase) and get Tom Kyte's book.

> I want to be faithful to relational theory as much as possible while
> getting work done with products currently on the market. I believe
> Fabian Pascal stated that theory was immensely important for practice;
> that it was not about a bunch of curmudgeonly academics bickering
> about how many angels can stand on the head of a pin. Is he correct?
> While it's essential that methodologists and theorists are out there
> visioning what databases can or should be, practitioners have to get
> projects completed with existing resources.

Pascal is quite correct, but he has a tendency to blame the wrong people, which comes off as elitist to me. For example, if you are a practitioner, and you use a product that doesn't perfectly follow all aspects of relational theory as he sees it, then it is your fault. If he says anywhere anything about practitioners having to get projects completed with existing resources, in a positive context, please point out exactly where, so I can apologize appropriately. It could be I've missed something he's said since he pissed me off decades ago with this, by berating some poor schmuck online who certainly didn't deserve it.

First thing that comes up in google fabian pascal practitioners:

Then there's this gem: Be very careful, your preexisting views will color that one.


-- is bogus.
Received on Fri Aug 07 2009 - 11:42:07 CDT

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