Northwind Database is a sample database that is shipped along with Microsoft Access application. Basically, the database is about a company named "Northwind Traders". The database captures all the sales transactions that occurs between the company i.e. Northwind traders and its customers as well as the purchase transactions between Northwind and its suppliers.
It contains the following detailed information :
Suppliers/Vendors of Northwind – who supply to the company.
Customers of Northwind – who buy from Northwind
Employee details of Northwind traders – who work for Northwind
The product information – the products that Northwind trades in
The inventory details – the details of the inventory held by Northwind traders.
The shippers – details of the shippers who ship the products from the traders to the end-customers
PO transactions i.e Purchase Order transactions – details of the transactions taking place between vendors & the company.
Sales Order transaction – details of the transactions taking place between the customers & the company.
Inventory transactions – details of the transactions taking place in the inventory
Invoices – details of the invoice raised against the order.
|Entity/Transactions||No. of Tables|
All these information is held in different tables. The tables have been appropriately named – hence you wont have a problem identifying which table contains which information. Now, the reason they are stored in different tables and not in one table is : Please refer the article "Why the need to have multiple tables in MS Access"
Moving ahead, one might ask why am I dedicating a post (though a small one) to describing what a Northwind Database is all about.
The reason being as follows:
I just wanted the new user to understand what kind of data does this Db hold. Basically, I wanted to give him a "functional view" of the DB he is dealing with. Once he can visualize the business process, then he can creatively/intuitively think what are the type of reports that would be needed in such scenarios. Accordingly, he can create different queries & different reports.
Also, normally when we start learning databases, we are straight away bombarded with concepts like tables, normalisation, foreign keys, queries etc…and by the time we come to using the dummy DB like Northwind DB, we simply tend to ignore what the database represents & simply start working on it.
Knowing the business process i.e. understanding what the data is & to which business process does it belong to, will help the user to think in the right direction & comprehend the results better.
As far as the relationships existing between these tables are concerned, you’ll get to understand them better as you move further & start using the database.