Re: Proposal: 6NF

From: dawn <>
Date: 19 Oct 2006 07:37:54 -0700
Message-ID: <>

David Cressey wrote:
> "Marshall" <> wrote in message
> > On Oct 18, 3:15 pm, "dawn" <> wrote:
> > > A nit, perhaps, but which values would those be that we cannot
> > > represent with computers?
> >
> > I would be hard pressed to figure out how to represent an
> > uncomputable number with a computer. Unless we give it a
> > name like, say, "Fred" and store "Fred" as a string.
> > But then we're representing the name of the value, and
> > not the value itself.
> Everything in a representation scheme is, at some level, a name. "23" is
> the name of a number in the common system. "XXIII" is the name of the same
> number in another system. "veintitres" is the name of the number in some
> language. "10111" is the name in another system.

Yup, you got it. "23" is just a string used to name a number. In data processing, we "process" strings. Sometimes we need to have the computer interpret those strings quantitatively, while other times we can pass them through from human to human. If NULL, 3, "Fred" and "12345" are all handled as strings going to and from any output "device" (screen, paper, database, paper tape, web server), then we need to figure out what to do with them in between one in put and another output.

In between sucking data in and spitting it out is where strong typing is most helpful. Trying to work with the abstraction of thinking the string "23" that is going to the screen is anything other than a string just complicates the matter at that point (similarly with a database?)

--dawn Received on Thu Oct 19 2006 - 16:37:54 CEST

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