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All the Perl that's Practical to Extract and Report

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  • I would generalize that in a different way: no system-generated unique identifier should ever be interpreted as to its content. In other words, those columns should be used for joins to other tables and nothing else. For example, if you ever find yourself writing "order by" on that column, you're setting yourself up for trouble. As a test, if you're using any kind of SUID, I should be able to substitute 1, -47, or 240981 for any of the values consistently, and no program or user should be any the wiser.

    Now, I will admit to breaking that rule in one particular situation (you knew that was coming ;-). In most data warehousing applications, you want to capture date values or time values (rarely both) in a dimension table. I've found it's very convenient to have meaningful SUIDs for primary keys on those tables; it makes debugging much simpler when you can look at date_id 20030430 and know it refers to today.