Conventional Thinking, a guide to database naming standards

Databases, People, Programming
Location: Meeting Room J2
Average rating: ****.
(4.00, 4 ratings)

The process of determining a good naming scheme for your database is more complicated than one might initially think. Take the idea of UPPERCASE vs. lowercase vs. MiXedCaSe table names. Most people will focus on the visual aspect of naming things, but it’s important to understand that SQL standard defines behavior related to case folding, and that many databases implement this differently; for example if you install MySQL on windows, you get a different default behavior than on unix, not to mention there are configuration options that change behavior too; all of which can actually increase the complexity and the amount of code when dealing with your database. In this talk we’ll discuss examples like this and make sure people see all sides of each situation. Areas we’ll touch on include:

  • Case Sensitivity
  • Pluralism
  • Key Names
  • Reserved Words
  • Specific Object Names
  • Naming for Relational Patterns
  • Codes and Abbreviations
  • SQL Formatting

We’ll discuss pros and cons of each topic, as well as how different databases implementations will affect the choices you make. We’ll also discuss techniques for enforcing these rules without causing major pain to your fellow developers.

Photo of Robert Treat

Robert Treat


Robert Treat works as a database architect at OmniTI and has been working with open source for over a decade. A veteran industry speaker at conferences worldwide, Robert is also co-author of the book Beginning PHP and PostgreSQL 8, and has been recognized as a major contributor to the PostgreSQL project for his work over the years.

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Shirley Bailes
08/10/2009 1:14am PDT

@ralph, they’re available above as a PDF now.

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Robert Treat
08/08/2009 4:31am PDT

I’ve uploaded them to the OSCon website, I figure they should show up at some point on this page.

Ralph Wissing
07/27/2009 8:08am PDT

Will the slides be available somewhere? They’d be much appreciated!

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