Data models are tools used in analysis to describe the data requirements and assumptions in the system from a top-down perspective. Traditionally, data models set the stage for the design of databases later on in the SDLC.
An Entity-Relationship diagram shows entities and their relationships. The ER diagram relates to business data analysis and data base design.
There are three basic elements in ER models:
1. Entities are the "things" about which we seek information.
2. Attributes are the data we collect about the entities.
3. Relationships provide the structure needed to draw information from multiple entities.
Data flow diagrams can be used to provide a clear representation of any business function. They depict the movement and process steps of data and information. The DFD diagram is an ideal representation of a black box kind of scenario. A DFD diagram can be used for analysis of the system at a high level and can then be used to describe the system to the lowest level of detail or as required. Hence, you can have a clear top-down expansion of the system functionality.
A DFD uses the following to depict a business process diagram –
An external entity is a source or destination of a data flow, which is outside the area of study. Entities, which receive or originate data, are represented in the DFD. Symbol is an oval, which contains a meaningful, unique identifier.
A process represents a transformation or manipulation of data flows within a system.
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