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Egyptian Database Student Project on the NetBeans Platform

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Ahmed Gaber, a student at the faculty of computers and informatics at Suez Canal University in Egypt, is in his final year and lives in Ismailia. Here he talks about the graduation project that he and a team of other students are working on, called Visual Database, which will be based on the NetBeans Platform and which has a project site on SourceForge:


Can you start by giving a high level view of what you're planning to create? We envision our project as a tool for visually manipulating databases, particularly for designing and creating them. So, in short, the plan is to create a visual designer for databases, to handle the DDL of databases, through wizards, as well as a canvas for drawing ER diagrams.

And what should the tool's output consist of? From the wizards and the designer, the user should be able to instantly generate DDL scripts, which handle the structuring of databases. In addition, the application should also be able to handle the testing of databases. The user should be able to create test databases so that they can verify the validity of the database structure prior to going into production.

Which database management systems are you planning to support? We're planning to provide support for several types of database management systems, which will be easy with the NetBeans Platform, since NetBeans IDE comes prepackaged with database support already. Initially we're planning to provide support for MySQL and Oracle. In the future other developers should be able tp extend the support with additional databases to meet their specific needs.

There are different types of notations for entity relationships. Will you support more than one? Yes,  we'll provide support for several ER notations, such as Chen and Craw's Foot. In doing this, we will give the user several choices to fit their work environment.

Any other features you're thinking of? Well, the user will be given the ability to generate DBdoc for the created database. This feature will be useful for those who are involved in the development of open source applications. Together with the docs for their code, they'll be able to make docs for their database too.

The application will also provide several formats for exporting the SQL and ER. For example, the user will be able to export their database in a binary Dump, SQL Scripts, XML databases, CSV, and so on. They'll also be able to export the ER in various formats, such as PDF, SVG, and PNG

Right now, that's all about the guidelines of our project, and more details will be provided on our project's website at  http://visualdb.sourceforge.net.

Would you like help from the community? Actually, we need help from NetBeans Platform experts, as well as users of NetBeans IDE! If they can specify their needs, assuming they need a tool of this kind, that would be very helpful. "What kind of work would you like to do with this application?", for example, is the kind of question that could be answered by sending an e-mail to me at aigdonia AT gmail DOT com. We will consider all ideas and, where applicable, add them to the features list that we'll publish in the coming days. At this time, that's all the help we can accept, in terms of direct contributions, since it is still a graduation project!

What is the deadline of the project? We'll deliver our application, i.e., our graduation release, next July. But, our beta and test releases will be coming out during the next months for trying it out!

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