Natural or artificial primary key? Using the Mifrenz children’s email application as a case study

Hunt, Tim D. (2010) Natural or artificial primary key? Using the Mifrenz children’s email application as a case study. The New Zealand Journal of Applied Computing and Information Technology (NZJACIT), 14 (1). pp. 16-23. ISSN 1174-0175

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Abstract or Summary

The choice of primary key (PK) for a database relation (table) is an important concept that students need to grasp. The standard process that is taught to students, centres on the concept of looking at the data requirements and choosing a PK based on the natural data. Yet, there is much debate in industry with respect to the use of natural or artificial data for a primary key with the consensus seeming to favour the use of an artificial key. This debate is unfortunately not reflected in the peer reviewed academic literature. This seems to direct the lecturer to a “do as I say, not what ‘they’ do” approach. This paper gives a worked example of designing a database for an email application (Mifrenz), that the author was able to use to demonstrate to students an example where the use of natural data seemed to be the most appropriate solution.

Item Type:Journal article
Keywords that describe the item:Mifrenz, primary key, email, database, natural data
Subjects:Q Science > QA Mathematics > QA76 Computer software
Divisions:Schools > Centre for Business, Information Technology and Enterprise > School of Information Technology
ID Code:782
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Deposited On:06 Oct 2010 21:17
Last Modified:06 Oct 2010 21:17

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