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Re: PK or not PK

From: Jared Still <>
Date: Wed, 07 May 2003 13:26:50 -0800
Message-ID: <>

In addition to the comments you have already received, having a PK now may save you grief later for other reasons.

Say you want to replicate that data at 5 minute intervals sometime in the future. Guess what you'll need? Yeah, a primary key.


On Wednesday 07 May 2003 12:07, John Carlson wrote:
> I am searching for arguments for NOT having a primary key. All I seem to
> find are discussions about how to use artificial or surrogate keys but
> nothing about not needing them at all.
> For example, a one to many relationship. Parent table has a primary key
> but the child table does not have any natural unique key. You create a
> foreign key with a non-unique index on the child table and that is all you
> really need. Now, the application queries the parent child relationship
> and lists rows for a given parent. The user then selects one of the rows
> and the program needs to select that record for update. This can easily be
> accomplished with rowid; however, our developers use a tool which ( in an
> effort to be a generic tool ) cannot handle oracle's rowid and insists on
> having a primary key on the child table.
> My argument is that this is a total waste of resources. It takes overhead
> to maintain an index and it also consumes disk space and serves no useful
> purpose. Their argument is that they want their code to be independent of
> the database so we could switch from oracle to any other database without
> changing any code. I say that is ridiculous because you always have to
> 'tune' your code to work efficiently and each one has their own unique
> requirements. Another argument is that in a true relational database, all
> tables must have a primary key. I don't know anyone who has a 'true'
> relational database just like you are supposed to use third normal form.
> But, in order to help queries be more efficient, we often back off to
> second normal form. It just isn't realistic or practical in the real world
> to conform to all the 'rules'.
> Can anyone help me out or am I fighting a loosing battle?
> TIA,
> John Carlson
> Santa Barbara, CA. USA

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Author: Jared Still

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Received on Wed May 07 2003 - 16:26:50 CDT

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