Re: Theory and practice

From: Marshall <>
Date: Fri, 7 Mar 2008 09:13:57 -0800 (PST)
Message-ID: <>

On Mar 7, 7:10 am, Bob Badour <> wrote:
> Marshall wrote:
> > On Mar 7, 4:27 am, "David Cressey" <> wrote:
> >>There was a topic in this newsgroup about 4 years ago entitled "Stupid
> >>database tricks".
> > I will never forget that thread as long as I live.
> What was most memorable about it?

I don't know if I can fully convey the depth of feeling that thread brought me.

I had been working with SQL long enough that it was starting to really gel for me. I really felt like I had a solid handle on it, not just *how* to make it do stuff but *why* doing things one way worked well and doing things a different way didn't work well. Call me a solid journeyman at that point; a promising intermediate, perhaps.

And I was starting to notice: people don't *get* it. It seemed like no one got it. People I knew who I respected wanted to have globally unique keys, or they wanted every table to have a single integer primary key, even wanting to add them to tables that were just two-fk join tables. Any of a host of crazy things. One can just read the current thread with comp.object for more examples.

I had only two hypotheses: either the entire world was mad, or I was. Neither possibility was appealing.

Then that thread happened. And suddenly it was clear: I'm not alone! Other people have the exact same problems, the same frustrations. Even better: some of them are a lot further along in this process, and I can learn from them. I am not speaking of the problems of database theory, you understand. I am speaking of the Curse of Cassandra.

Maybe it has become exaggerated in hindsight. Or perhaps more likely, that thread has become emblematic of the entire years-long process that I went through; shrunk in the machine press of memory to a single cubic foot of twisted metal.

Still, when I run into those don't-get-it people, what appears in my mind's eye is David Letterman, speaking in the voice of David Cressey, reading off a five-by-eight index card, dramatically and ironically announcing over a drumroll:

"And the number one stupid database trick: enforcing integrity in the application."

And the audience applauds thunderously, and I am they and they are I.

Marshall Received on Fri Mar 07 2008 - 18:13:57 CET

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