Introducing Common Database Elements

A database is a collection of information broken into categories or groups of data that have predefined relationships to each other. Each group of data, in turn, is a collection of specific details that is distinct from other groups of data; for example, task information is distinct from resource information. If you can imagine a project as a set of tasks, a set of resources, and a set of assignments, you're already on your way to understanding how the Microsoft Project database fits together.

All the databases used by Microsoft Project share some common elements, including general types of data that are stored in each database. All Microsoft Project databases contain information about the following:

Projects. Project tables link all related information (tasks, resources, assignments, and so on) to a specific project. Project tables also define unique information related to a particular project. In addition, project tables store some global settings such as those found in the Options dialog box (Tools, Options) and the Properties dialog box (File, Properties).

Tasks. Task tables define all the fields and relationships in Microsoft Project that make up a task, such as the task name, start date, finish date, duration, and assigned resources. Resources. Resource tables define all the fields and relationships that make up a resource, such as the resource name, e-mail address, hourly rate, and availability dates.

Assignments. Assignment tables link tasks and resources and other related information, in addition to defining unique information related to a particular assignment, such as assignment delay, assignment work, and total cost for the assignment. Calendars. Calendar tables contain all working times calendars used by projects, resources, tasks, or assignment availability in a project.

Custom Field Information. Each database has a different way of storing customized information. In general, you can create custom fields—including code, date, duration, flag, number, and text fields—for both local and enterprise projects.

Application Settings. Global settings, such as those stored in the project global template and the enterprise global template, are typically stored in project-related tables.

The three databases have a number of unique tables. Some of these unique tables track data that can be accessed only from within that database, or have a specific purpose for using project data outside of Microsoft Office Project Standard 2003 or Project Professional; for example, the security and view tables in the Project Server database. Some just track data in a different way than another database does. For example, the custom fields in the Project

Server database are separated out into their own individual tables; whereas in the OLE DB, these same fields are included within the Task, Resource, Assignment, and Project tables. ^

In addition to the general types of information stored by all three databases, the Microsoft ®

Project database and Project Server database also track the following information: ™

Internal Tables. These tables store strings of data; for example, the words that appear in the user interface in Microsoft Project or Project Web Access. Internal tables are also used by Microsoft Project to link "behind-the-scenes" information. Security Tables. These tables are used to determine which users have access to Project Web Access and other specific features available when Project Server, Project Web Access, and Project Professional are used together. These security tables also determine the specific areas within this enterprise project management workspace that users can view, and whether a user can log on to Project Server to check out a project.

Display Settings. These settings are used in Project Web Access to control the appearance of Gantt charts and other views. These settings are similar to those you can control with the Microsoft Project global template. The difference is that information stored in this database is modified using Project Web Access. Note that the enterprise project global template is an actual project stored in the database. If you checked out the enterprise global template and made changes, you would be changing these display settings in the database.

Notifications and Reminders. Project Web Access has automated notifications and reminders that are tracked with unique tables in the Project Server database. This service requires a Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP) mail server.

Enterprise Views. Project Web Access can be used to create, store, and display project views. This is the administrative table that stores the settings used to create the views and a large number of dedicated view tables. In general, the type of information stored in these view tables is very similar to the type of information contained in the Microsoft Office Project 11 OLE DB Provider.

Project Management Made Easy

Project Management Made Easy

What you need to know about… Project Management Made Easy! Project management consists of more than just a large building project and can encompass small projects as well. No matter what the size of your project, you need to have some sort of project management. How you manage your project has everything to do with its outcome.

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