For a long time I’ve never thought of Data Modeling as a full time job. For me it was more a step along the way to getting a database built. A tool to fiddle with data concepts until the data fell into place so that the database could be built and the applications built on top of it.
I’ve always known that E.J. Date was onto something. That the Normal Forms were a great discipline for managing data structures and it’s relationships. I think the Entity Relationship Diagram (ERD) is what got me started in relational databases. The way you can take business information and practices and break them down into components is, for me, fascinating. Of all the programming and flow charting and other diagraming technics the ERD is most appealing to me.
In highschool I took technical courses (shops) like woodworking and automechanics … Something that is sadly lacking in my own children’s education (but I digress)… In grade 11 and 12 I took architectural drafting. Drawing with pencils and straight edges, learning perspectives and imagining and depicting three dimensional objects displayed in two dimensions on paper.
I could have been a draftsmen. For me there’s something very aesthetically pleasing in drawing the lines on a page. Creating a plan for something that can be built from drawings. Calligraphy without words.
Over the years, computers have made paper drawings and draftsmen obsolete. Computer graphics have come a long way since the late 1970s. But I still like the idea of creating plans that can be built. Whether they’re for a toolshed, a desk, a stage set, or an enterprise data warehouse. The idea of drawing a picture and then making that picture come to life. That is cool! And has huge Karma, for me.
Well I woke up this morning thinking about a data model I’ve been working on and how much I enjoy drawing the lines on the screen. It’s not the pencil on the paper scribbing the line so much as the line itself and the meaning it takes on when it connects to other lines and shapes that convey more meaning.
Kind of like cave drawings. Telling a story with pictures that speak their own language. Communicating ideas – how mundane, how human.
Blog posted here.