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All the Perl that's Practical to Extract and Report

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  • Back in the real good old days when I started to work with RDBMses ('86 to be precise) I cut my teeth on Digitals RDB database (later bought by Oracle as part of the great DEC sell-out).

    It supported domains, ie named datatypes. As part of the database design you would create a domain for every distinct datatype. Your columns would not be of type 'int' or 'numeric(20,2)' but 'a_identifier' or 'monthly_payment'.

    Joins and other comparisons were nearly always between columns with the same domain - if not someone would wonder why.

    It also helped to keep things sane, by keeping column validation code common for all columns with the same domain - eg if 'a-id' is to be an even number then you are almost certain to forget it somewhere if you have to have the constraint on every column and not in a central place - especially when you later have to alter it.

    We were so happy with the idea that when we later made a system using Ingres we implemented an active datadictionary on top of the Ingres metadata just to be able to use domains. All changes are made in the datadictionary and the 'rolled onto' the database(s) using a perl-script.