SQL Server Infernals – Circle 2: Generalizers



Object-Oriented programming taught us that generalizing is a good thing and, whenever possible, we should do it. Complex class hierarchies are a good way of reusing code, hitting the specialized classes only when a special implementation is needed.

In the database world, the concept doesn’t play exactly well.

What they say in Heaven

In Heaven, there is a lookup table for each attribute, no matter how simple and no matter how small is the lookup table.

For instance, if your database is about sales, you probably have a Customers table and an Orders table, each with its own attributes resolved through a Foreign Key. The lookup tables are usually very small, with just a handful of rows in them:


Temptation comes from our own desires

Wouldn’t that be great if you could stop adding small, insignificant tables to your database schema? Wouldn’t it be a lot easier if you had…

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