Nip DATA Logo  


ByteDesigner icon Byte Designer

Professional database modeling

Chapter 3

Byte Designer Basic Concepts

About this chapter

This chapter describes the basic concepts of Byte Designer.

Byte Designer interface

The Byte Designer window is a database design environment, in which you can perform different tasks:
  • create Logical Models
  • create Physical Models
  • create Conceptual Models
  • generate model reports
  • generate SQL scripts
  • submit SQL to a database

Main Window components

How you start the Byte Designer application varies between operating systems but generally involves finding the icon among your other applications and <double-clicking> the icon.

The main window consists of many different window elements (menu, dock-windows, status-bar) where many of the elements can be hidden or rearranged to meet your needs. For example; dock-windows can be "attached" to any main window edge, floated or hidden. The following image shows a typical, Byte Designer, main window.



The main window, like most application main windows, has a menu along the top. The basic menu options for File and Edit are consistent with most applications on your operating system and are also the ones used most often.

Options are disabled when they are not relevant to the current state of the application.

Work area

The main window utilizes the Multiple Document Interface (MDI) paradigm. This means that more than one document may be opened at once. The work area is the area where these documents exist when loaded. The following documents are supported;
  • logical model
  • physical model
  • conceptual model
  • SQL editor
The Window menu option can be used to arrange loaded documents.

Tool bar

Common menu options are also found as buttons on a tool-bar just below the menu. A tool-bar makes the option more accessable so its a great place for options used frequently. The tool-bar can be rearranged and tool-bar elements can be hidden. It is important to note that tool-bar buttons are only enabled when they are relevant to the current document and/or application state. For example; if the current document is an SQL editor the diagram options are disabled.

The tool-bar is a collection of dock-windows. Dock-windows can be moved or hidden. Use the Window menu option to make a hidden dock-window visible.

Slider bar

The slider-bar is a dock-window which presents a subset of tool-bar options. Some people may find the slider-bar to be a nice alternative to the menu and tool-bar methods for selecting an option.

Status bar

Some useful state information is shown in a status-bar along the bottom of the main window. For example; if the current document has been modified a small icon is shown in the status-bar.


The Browser is a dock-window which contains the documents and document objects organized in a hierarchy using a tree-view. This is a great way to navigate a large model and quickly get to an object on a diagram/model or to invoke the objects properties dialog. The top element in the Browser is always a Workspace. The Workspace is different than the Work area. The Workspace makes it easier restart a work session.

Most Browser items have a context popup menu which can be invoked by <right-clicking> the item.

Output window

The Output window is a dock-window which lists a wide variety of messages generated as the application is used. The messages are categorized by type into seperate tabs. Each tab has the number of unread messages listed so its easy to see where to look for information.

Many of the output messages contain information about the source of the message - <clicking> on such a message will usually bring the source into focus and <double-clicking> the message will usually invoke the sources properties dialog.

Property editor

This is a dock-window which shows many, but not all, of the properties for the selected object in the current document. The Property editor provides an alternative to the properties dialog for some properties. To view/edit all properties you should <double-click> the object in the document or request the context popup menu for the item in the Browser.


This dock-window available in the ByteDesigner Viewer, always shows the entire diagram/model and displays a red box to indicate the area of the document being viewed in the work area. This provides a great way to get oriented in a large document. The red box can be dragged about the panner as an alternative to scrolling using the document scroll bars.

Byte Designer modeling environment


Only one Workspace can be loaded. The Workspace is the top level object in the application as indicated in the Browser. The purpose of the Workspace is to have a means to save/restore a work session. A Workspace may contain any number of documents and/or Projects however some documents lack features unless created under a Project i.e. Physical Models and SQL files.


A Project is a container for organizing documents. Physical Model and SQL File documents are almost always created under a Project because this enables them to use the Projects connection to a database. A document may exist in more than one Project.

One way to create a document under a Project is to <right-click> the Project in the Browser dock-window. This invokes the Projects popup menu which includes options for creating/adding documents to the Project.


Byte Designer supports the following document types;

Model Type
Logical Model
Logical Model
Represents the logical system - that is the system without regard to any physical implementation. This is created relatively early in the System Development Life Cycle (SDLC) - typically early in the Design Phase. A Byte Designer is the typical person(s) who creates Logical Models but because it is abstracted from implementation details it can be created by someone with less technical and more business skills.
Physical Model
Physical Model
Represents the physical implementation of the database. This is created in the later stages of the Design Phase of the SDLC - after the Logical Model is complete and after the database type has been selected. A Byte Designer or someone with  good design skills and a high degree of undertanding with regard to the target database type creates the Physical Model.
Conceptual Model
Conceptual Model
Byte Designer may be used to create generic, free-form diagrams named Conceptual Models
SQL File
SQL File
SQL files may be edited using the Advanced SQL Editor (ASE) embedded in Byte Designer. This editor includes syntax highlighting for SQL and supports submitting SQL to the database and displaying any results. The results can be exported/displayed in a variety of formats such as; delimited, html, text boxed, and graphical grid. 

A Physical Model must always represent the design in the Logical Model. It is ok for the Physical Model to use more optimal column data types (although only when absolutely required) or to even contain more entities/tables to improve the efficiency of data access and storage. But it should never contradict the Logical Model and the intention detailed there.

Some documents can be created automatically by Byte Designer. The following diagram shows how documents, or an existing database, are used to create other documents.