Overview of Design Concepts: What is a Technical Specification?

Following is a brief summary of some of the concepts on technical specification and design that we are working on in class:

Remember these distinctions:

Following are some things to consider when you are working on a technical specification:

  1. What are the hardware and software requirements to run this system? (In our case, we are using MS Access on a PC; be sure to specify a minimum, such as 500 MB, of disk space to store the data, based on your rough calculations.)
  2. List all of the tables to be included in the database and a brief description (one or two sentences) to describe each table.
  3. For each table, describe the file structure (see below) **
  4. List the relationships among the tables. (This is most commonly done as a graphic but you may write it out if you prefer.)

** File Structures For each table, a good technical specificaion includes a list of the fields with the at least the following information for every field: ** see below for a sample

There are many additional things to consider, depending on the nature of the database system that you are designing. But this is a start !!

** Sample File Structure

Artist Table: This table contains a list of the artists (painters and sculptors) represented by this gallery. Data fields include:

field name field description data type field length remarks
artist_name the full name of the artist character 30 Stored as "last, first" e.g. "Pollack, Jackson".
This field is the primary key for this table.
This field is a foreign key for the table of paintings.
artist_school the school or style this artist is associated with primarily character 15 This field should be checked against a list of values e.g. abstract, Baroque, Impressionist, etc.
artist_born year or approximate year of the artist's birth character 4 Use century or mid-century approximations where necessary. Be sure this date does not exceed the current year.
artist_death year or approximate year of the artist's death character 4 Use century or mid-century approximations where necessary. Be sure this date does not exceed the current year.
artist_nationality the nationality this artist is associated with primarily character 15 This field should be checked against a list of values e.g. American, Mexican, Flemish, etc.