Re: By The Dawn's Normal Light

From: Laconic2 <>
Date: Wed, 27 Oct 2004 17:42:30 -0400
Message-ID: <>

"Dawn M. Wolthuis" <dwolt_at_tincat-group.comREMOVE> wrote in message news:clovf6$plp$

> It seems that every first course in databases still teaches how to put
> into the old def of 1NF, and the pervasiveness of SQL-92 perpetuates that
> too. So I'd prefer to reitre the term 1NF so we stop teaching it with the
> old def. It adds nothing to the discussion. Then we can rename the upper
> level NF's so they are not numbered, but named. --dawn

First off, it's not clear to me that the body of IT "Referees" or "Experts" or whatever they are have indeed reached a consensus that Date's alteration is to be commonly accepted. It is certain that there is no consensus on that view in this forum. So, if "we are IT", then we are still in the process of reaching consensus.

Second, I find it ironic in the extreme that the great theorists of data and databases should have mismanaged the namespace so badly in the case of naming normal forms. First, the numbering of the normal forms as "1", "2", "3" with the definitions as successive additions to the previous ones, basically suffered from the same defect as using a surrogate key, only worse. This surrogate key was overloaded because in addition to carrying the order of discovery, it also carried the sequence of progressive definition.

So, when 4th normal form was discovered and named, before Boyce-Codd normal form, they were already up the creek. The only alternative would have been to call Boyce-Codd normal form something like "3.5 normal form". And we all know what would have happened then!

Next, along comes Date, and redefines "relation" in such a way that "all relations are in 1NF". (Is this really what happened?) Trouble is, the old definition of relation is still current in the world of mathematics. So now we have the "homonym problem" in the namespace as well, if we include mathematics and IT in the same universe of discourse. And the RDM was supposed to unify mathematical and "informatical" disciplines! Great example for the unwashed masses, guys! Received on Wed Oct 27 2004 - 23:42:30 CEST

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