Trying to get better at designing databases, I noticed I'm always stuck trying to solve variations of the exact same problem.
Here is an example using common requirements:
- An online store sells different categories of
- The system must be able to retrieve the list of all product categories, say
- A customer may order any product and retrieve his
- System must store specific properties depending on the product category ; say the
If it wasn't for requirement 4, the model could be quite straightforward:
Problem is trying to solve requirement 4. I thought of something like this:
In this approach, the relationships
product-food are supertype-subtype (or superclass-subclass) associations; the primary key of the subtype is also a foreign key to the supertype primary key.
However, this approach can not guarantee the
category referenced via a foreign key to the
product will be consistent with its actual subtype. For instance, nothing stops me from setting
food category to a product tuple having a subtype row in the
I read various articles about inheritance in modelling relational databases, especially this one and this one which were very helpful but didn't solve my problem for the reason mentioned above. But whatever model I come with, I'm never satisfied with the data consistency.
How can I solve requirement 4 without sacrificing data consistency ? Am I going all wrong here ? If so, what would be the best way to solve this problem based on these requirements ?