Mike Dougherty-384281 (6/30/2011)
1) Good job on the topic: it caught my attention. That alone is a considerable feat in a world of information overload.
2) Where's the rest of it? The tone starts out like a story and I was enjoying it up to the rather short last paragraph but there was no "next page(s)" button. I'm sure writing a long technical article can be daunting - but I was hoping the tale you started telling would continue (at least until my coffee had cooled enough to drink)
Well, Steve had asked for a series of very short articles on normal forms. That was just the first one. Two more are completed and are providionally scheduled to appear mid July and late July. I am going to write at least two more, and see if Steve accepts them. And then maybe a slightly longer article discussing the conficts between higher normal forms and the representation principle.
3) You gave two example rows of a non-1NF table. That's a helpful visualization. The follow up description proposed how one might "fix" the design - another illustration would have been equally helpful. Many readers here are already familiar with NF and table design, however those reading about 1NF might not be as confident with those concepts; some might think fewer (non-normal) tables are "easier to understand."
With the length constraints Steve proposed there wasn't room for the illustration; but maybe I was interpreting the constraint too strictly, and should have added it.
4) Provide some footnotes linking to more information regarding your apparent dislike for NULL values. I know it's a subject that's been done many times, but the audience reading an article on 1NF might still not have an informed position on it. (hard for veteran DBAs to remember new people enter this field every day)
My apparent dislike for NULL?
I'm more used to being accused by David and Steven993 of being a null-loving heretic! :-D :-D :-P. I'm all for NULL used correctly, when it's needed. I don't like some of the things SQL has done with NULL (for example the sum of an empty set should be 0, not NULL), and I don't like it being misused (see my reply to George above) and I really don't want to get into a big NULL debate here.
5) Keep writing. I hope your next topic catches my attention when it crosses my inbox in the future.
Thanks for the encouragement.