Re: pro- foreign key propaganda?

From: sinister <sinister_at_nospam.invalid>
Date: Thu, 15 May 2008 15:32:28 -0400
Message-ID: <>

"paul c" <toledobysea_at_ac.ooyah> wrote in message news:CYXWj.140178$Cj7.48470_at_pd7urf2no...
> sinister wrote:
> ...
>> What do I do if he gets back to me and says---as I'm sure everyone in his
>> position does---"oh, but my PHP code makes sure everything is done
>> right"? Not that I don't know what to say, but it would be good to have a
>> pointer to an essay or webpage that succinctly explains why you're asking
>> for trouble if you don't encode such relationships in the DB itself.
>> ...
> It is usually pointless to argue technical points with ignorants, even if
> they are well-meaning that will encourage even more wasteful work on top
> of the existing mistakes. The only argument I've ever seen succeed was to
> tell management that certain features of the product it had invested in
> were being ignored and that they were paying extra to code those features
> in-house. That is still a long-shot as most managements are also too lazy
> or ignorant to pay attention to non-political issues.

Thanks for your reply.

It's actually just a relatively small DB for a group in a scientific institute. So very few people involved. I sent the guy an email, and instead of protesting (I'm informally supervising him), he said he did it that way because it's awkward to have constraints because he's importing lots of sloppy data from spreadsheets etc. When I told him he _had_ to have fk constraints, he yielded w/o complaint. (Then I told him he could deal with the sloppy data even w/ the fk constraints, in ways which aren't all that cumbersome.)

One thought did occur to me---why did he think I had all those constraints in my PostgreSQL table creation code? Hmm...


> By rights, the first argument ought to be that the slightest error in the
> in-house code risks integrity for the whole installation but usually who
> wins either of these two arguments is a matter of who has more of mgmt's
> ear, so in practice it still comes down to politics.
> Of course, if you're lucky enough to win either argument over the heads of
> the ignorants, some of those will make themselves your enemies in future,
> wherever you may go. Having experienced all of the above over many years,
> my attitude now would be to just try to get along with them and plan to
> get out at the earliest opportunity, with your conscience intact and your
> resume untarnished. If it is a localized mundane commercial application,
> eg., nothing to do with say, public safety, life's too short for any other
> course.
Received on Thu May 15 2008 - 21:32:28 CEST

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