Database design theory is a topic that many people avoid learning for lack of time. Many others attempt to learn it, but give up because of the dry, academic treatment it is usually given by most authors and teachers. But if creating databases is part of your job, then you're treading on thin ice if you don't have a good solid understanding of relational database design theory.
This article begins with an introduction to relational database design theory, including a discussion of keys, relationships, integrity rules, and the often-dreaded "Normal Forms." Following the theory, I present a practical step-by-step approach to good database design.