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I know that value objects should be embedded in the table of the object they belong to but what if the value object is more than a simple object and contains many fields/columns or even sub-objects?

I currently have a table named content which in short stores rich text. Since I don't always parse the content I've added a caching system. The table also has a 1:n-relation to another table which contains a list of all the links in the content table.

content(content_id[PK], text)
content_link(link_id[PK], content_id[FK], object_id)

If I would put this data in the orginal table I would follow the rules of database design but many it would make work harder.

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Can you perhaps give a specific example? –  Martin Smith Sep 11 '13 at 13:48
@MartinSmith like this? –  JMD Coalesce Sep 12 '13 at 9:28
The word "rules" is misleading when it comes to design in general and database design in particular. Even for good rules, there are times when disregarding them is the pathway to good design. –  Walter Mitty 6 hours ago

1 Answer 1

Normalization is a set of techniques to avoid certain problems viz data update anomolies. In a perfect world you would not store structured content but split it into its constituent parts across however many table are required and re-construct each complex object at runtime (1st normal form).

However .. if pre-parsing the object and storing the interesting / frequently used bits somewhere else resolves a performance issue then do this as long as you do it with your eyes open. If you, and everyone else who may code against the database, understands that extra work must be done in the application in order to achieve the necessary response times then that's a design choice and necessary in the real world.

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