Re: Trend towards artificial keys (GUIDs) sez my AI next?

From: Roy Hann <specially_at_processed.almost.meat>
Date: Sat, 15 Dec 2007 17:17:43 -0000
Message-ID: <>

"raylopez99" <> wrote in message
> My beginner's book on RDBMS theory by Louis Davidson (APress) says
> that there's a trend towards using GUIDs (artificial keys) as
> computing power increases.

There have in the past been trends towards suspecting neighbours of being witches; colleagues of being communists; thinking that rocks as pets is funny; a new ice age is imminent; shoulder-pads and big hair make women attractive, and...well the list goes on. Trends don't mean a thing. A trend is just a mild form of mass hysteria.

> This makes sense,

It does not. It is only familiar, so you have stopped thinking about whether it makes sense or not.

> though I do appreciate the point made by a poster
> here that if you use compound keys you have "built in" protection
> against accidentally inserting the same data by mistake, rather than
> having to programmically guard against this.

Precisely. And it is a non-trivial point. I can't quantify the cost of the alternative, but it is huge.

> Just point out what the textbook says, not trying to start any flame
> wars... hahaha.

Good luck with that! :-)

> Another thing: has it occurred to anybody (and sorry if this idea is
> old) that the Codd RDBMS scheme of PK/FK/Constraints is a way of
> avoiding pointers and saving memory? If you have infinite memory,
> infinite computing power, and pointers, just link everything to
> everything, and then you can ask a query like "where does the group of
> people who met last July 3, 2007 in a room ABC to listen to a
> presentor lecture on the US Constitution for a course called
> Constitutional History 101 next meet?"

Sure, and there is no problem with doing that under the covers; it would be ideal if we could do that. But everything pointing to everything would be intractible unless we have a simple, regular, well-behaved way to express our search requirements. The relational model provides that without excluding any implementation.

Roy Received on Sat Dec 15 2007 - 18:17:43 CET

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