CS145 PDA Project, Part 1

Due Thursday, October 14, 2004

Some Mechanics for PDA Homeworks

For All Students

Assignments are due in class on Thursdays. You are allowed one lateness of up to 48 hours; use that privilege carefully.

This first part will be hardcopy-only. Later assignments may have parts to be submitted electronically, and by the end of the project, all work will use electronic submission.

For On-Campus Students

Assignments should be turned in during class or at the course secretary's office: Gates Building room 435. If you want a receipt for your work, Ms. Siroker can give you one.

For SITN students

Assignments due on Thursday must be timestamped by the Friday-morning courier to be considered on-time. Like all students, you have one free 48-hour exception. You should not have to worry about receipts for work, because SITN logs everything it receives.

Remember: the due time/day of 2:45PM Thursday applies to you too, although we often cannot verify the exact time you delivered your work to your local pickup point. However, please do not imagine, say, that it is OK to hand-deliver the work Friday morning.

Step 1 of Your PDA (Personal Database Application)

As the course progresses you will be building a substantial database application for a real-world scenario of your choosing. You will design a relational schema for the database, and you will create an actual database using a relational database management system. You will populate the database with sample data, write interactive queries and modifications on the database, and develop user-friendly tools for manipulating the database.

Your first step is to identify the domain you would like to manage with your database, and to construct an entity-relationship diagram for the data. We suggest that you pick an application that you will enjoy working with, since you'll be stuck with it for the whole quarter! In previous years, students who built a database about something they were interested in--a hobby, material from another course, a research project, etc.--got the most out of this part of CS145.

Try to pick an application that is relatively substantial, but not too enormous. For example, when expressed in the entity-relationship model, you might want your design to have in the range of five or so entity sets, and a similar number of relationships. In the past, we have accepted as reasonable those designs where the total number of entity sets plus relationships was in the 8-14 range, but have questioned others. Be aware, however, that entity sets or relationships that should be represented by attributes instead (a matter we'll discuss in class) do not "count."

You should certainly include different kinds of relationships (e.g., many-one, many-many) and different kinds of data (strings, integers, etc.), but your application is not required to use advanced features, such as subclassing, multiway relationsships, or weak entity sets, if they are not appropriate for your application.

Describe the database application you propose to work with throughout the course. Your description should be brief and relatively informal. If there are any unique or particularly difficult aspects of your proposed application, please point them out. Your description will be graded only on suitability and conciseness.

Specify an entity-relationship diagram for your proposed database. As always, don't forget to underline key attributes and include arrowheads and rounded arrows indicating the multiplicity of relationships. If there are weak entity sets, indicate them by double lines, as described in class.

Preliminary Review of Projects

In order to catch problems at an early stage, everyone is required to have their design reviewed by the instructor or TA. We shall be announcing additional office hours starting Oct. 5, so that everyone will have a chance for an individual or small-group discussion with a member of the course staff.


We shall try to catch major problems in your proposed designs within three days of your submitting it, so your Step 2 of the PDA will not be adversely affected. To make sure we can tell you of a problem with your design, please include your email address on this part of the assignment.

Also, don't forget to save a copy of your PDA for reference as you do Step 2 of the PDA.

If you are having trouble thinking of an application, or if you are unsure whether your proposed application is appropriate, please feel free to consult with one of the course staff.