Re: dbdebunk 'Quote of Week' comment

From: David Cressey <>
Date: Sat, 27 Aug 2005 10:41:01 GMT
Message-ID: <1rXPe.2451$>

"Marshall Spight" <> wrote in message
> David Cressey wrote:

> I think we're almost entirely in agreement here. I just thought the
> idea of "reus[ing] the unused row" was really only an issue at the
> physical level.

I think we are in basic agreement.

I've thought about this some more, and here's what I come up with:

When I'm being self-conscious about my language (as now), I think of a row as a logical data structure, and therefore a container. I don't think of the row as the data thus contained.

Most of the time, when I speak or write, I'm not self-conscious. And I don't bother to distinguish between the row and its contents. So I think of <code>

   select * from employees where employee_id = 12345 </code>

as "retrieving a row" rather than "retrieving some row uniquely specified by its partial contents".

So, to me, a foreign key is not just "a logical pointer to the row in the reference table". It is
"the conventional name of an entity catalogued in the reference table".

This is really splitting hairs. Received on Sat Aug 27 2005 - 12:41:01 CEST

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