The most recognizable characteristic of crow’s foot notation (also known as IE notation) is that it uses graphical symbols to indicate the ‘many’ side of the relationship. The three-pronged ‘many’ symbol is also how this widely-used notation style got its name. Let’s see where crow’s foot is placed in the history of data modeling and take a look at its symbols.History: How Crow’s Foot Notation Got StartedThe beginning of crow’s foot notation dates back to an article by
Various ERD notations follow different styles for entities, relationships, and attributes. Usually there isn’t much standardization between them, so notations bear little resemblance to each other. Among the plethora of ERD diagram notations, crow’s foot notation is definitely the most used. In this article, we’ll investigate its components within the Vertabelo database model.Before we start looking into crow’s foot notation, we must understand that there are various levels of Entity-Relationship diagrams:
UMLis popular for its notations. We all know thatUMLis for visualizing, specifying, and documenting the components of software and non software systems. What’s more, UML has many types of diagrams which are divided into two categories. Some types represent structural information, others general types of behaviors. Among these, there is one that is commonly used for entity relationship diagrams.In UML, anentityis represented by a rectangle:Relationshipsare solid lines with cardinality specified at the ends of the lines:
Arrow notationhas become one of the less recognized notations in entity relationships diagrams in recent years. Let’s discuss its elements.Entity and relationshipsAs you can see below, an entity is always represented by a rectangle, which is common to most notations (there isn’t a distinction if it is dependent or independent entity). Relationships and cardinality are represented by various combinations of arrows as the diagram below presents.There isn’t one way to represent attributes. Usually they are depicted the same way like in the IDEF1X notation or UML.
IDEF1X(Integration DEFinition for Information Modeling) is a method for designing relational databases with a syntax that supports constructs in developing conceptual schema.Not everyone knows that this notation has an interesting history. Indeed, the need for semantic data models was first recognized by the U.S. Air Force in the mid-1970s. As a result, the ICAM Program came into being (It identified a need for better analysis and communication techniques for people involved in improving manufacturing productivity), that later developed a series of techniques known as the IDEF; IDEF1X being one of them.
Continuing our trip through different ERD notations, let’s review the Chen ERD notation.Peter Chen, who developed entity-relationship modeling and published his work in 1976, was one of the pioneers of using the entity relationship concepts in software and information system modeling and design. The Chen ERD notation is still used and is considered to present a more detailed way of representing entities and relationships.EntitiesAn entity is represented by a rectangle which contains the entity’s name.
When looking at different kinds of ERD notations, it is hard not to come across Barker’s ERD notation, which is commonly used to describe data for Oracle. Richard Barker and his coworkers developed this ERD notation while working at the British consulting firm CACI around 1981, and when Barker joined Oracle, his notation was adopted.Let’s take a closer look at Barker’s syntax.The most important components in the ERD diagram are:entities, which can be thought as physical objects or elements that can be uniquely identified, and
An entity relationship diagram (ERD) is a diagram that defines the structure of database instances. Choosing which notation to use is typically left up to personal preference or conventions. Here, you can find some useful information about each notation: Part 1 – Barker’s Notation Part 2 – Chen Notation Part 3 – IDEF1X Notation Part 4 – Arrow Notation Part 5 – UML Notation