Oracle FAQ Your Portal to the Oracle Knowledge Grid

Home -> Community -> Mailing Lists -> Oracle-L -> Re: Primary Keys optional?

Re: Primary Keys optional?

From: dcosta <>
Date: Fri, 18 Aug 2006 00:43:21 +0100
Message-ID: <>


Firstly please let me beg You to be tolerant with my poor domain of the english

Then let me say i am in the profession since 1979. I knew Cobol, Pascal, C, then
the fourth generation languages, then the RADs, then ... In the course of my professional life i could see various applications evolving (migrating)
from Cobol (with files), to other languages and using RDBMS. But there was an aspect
which had been generally been maintained: the data structure and the inherent semantics.
And with it, tables whose data has multiple meanings, representing multiple entities, unique
indexes faking primary keys for each of the multiple entities in the same file, etc.
And it also goes well with the benefits (?) some companies have (specially the producers of
packages bought in outsourcing), caused by the high complexity in data structures which
don't make easy the *invasion* by the client's programmers even to produce the simplest
report. Some companies even created a owned language (what You learned in school is not
enough) which is an additional source of money. They can work like that because they know it's product is bought/choosed not by it's technical
excellence but because it offers to the people signing checks the functionalities they want.

The one ERP i work with daily has a structure which is not relational, like the BAAN.
Also it was born in the Cobol world many years ago. In the begining of our relationship
and in face of our critics about the non relational structure, they maintained that the non-relational
structure was the only who could warrant the desired performance. Now, almost ten years
later the talk is totally different and they now admit the obvious.

Note: The Baan Corporation was created by Jan Baan <> in 1978 <>

Just my 0,02EUR

Dias Costa  

Allen, Brandon wrote:
> I'm not trying to promote the creation of tables w/o PKs, but just FYI -
> I work with the Baan ERP application (you've probably never heard of it,
> but I think they used to be #5 behind SAP, Oracle, etc. - Boeing is
> their largest customer) and they do not use PKs or any RI in the
> database - they use unique indexes with not null constraints, and they
> manage all the RI w/in the application. Not ideal, but I must admit
> they've done a pretty good job of implementing it this way - it's never
> caused us any problems in the 8yrs I've been working with it. I've
> heard that some of the other big ERPs (maybe even SAP - anyone know?)
> are designed similarly.
> Another thing to consider in letting the app manage the RI is that you
> can't easily view the relationships for reporting purposes when trying
> to use Crystal or some other 3rd party reporting tool.
> Regards,
> Brandon
> Privileged/Confidential Information may be contained in this message or attachments hereto. Please advise immediately if you or your employer do not consent to Internet email for messages of this kind. Opinions, conclusions and other information in this message that do not relate to the official business of this company shall be understood as neither given nor endorsed by it.
> --

Received on Thu Aug 17 2006 - 18:43:21 CDT

Original text of this message