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From "Scott Anderson" <>
Subject RE: Insert at a particular position in the detail list
Date Fri, 26 Sep 2008 21:46:32 GMT
I don't think that slapping a "priority" on to the end of a table can
pass for a solution. In order for the approach to meet the efficiency
requirements, the width of the priority field would have to be 1 + the
maximum unsigned value of the PK field, or else the field could run out
of granularity. My PKs are generally 64 bits, so that means my priority
field would have to be 4 billion times wider than the addressable space
of a 32-bit operating system. Since I don't have the resources to
babysit that much data, that option is definitely out.

One could save space by redistributing the values of the priority field
on demand, but that won't ever be able to scale - you'd have to lock the
table too often and for too long.

I think that the most admirable part of Cayenne is that, no matter how
many cool things it can do, there's always an intuitive understanding of
what it's doing under the hood, even if the algorithms involved aren't
directly observed. This has a lot to do with the fact that Cayenne
sticks to the basics; there's a clear mapping between what you do in the
ORM world, and what happens in the RDB world.

Deviating from that philosophy would really turn me off, and a perfect
example of doing so would be to redefine what it means to add a value to
a relationship list. Adding to the relationship collection is the
equivalent of doing an INSERT, and it goes no deeper than that. As long
as that metric is maintained -- and I do hope that is forever -- the
only way forward is to decorate what it means to be a relationship to
account for this special case.

Ultimately, the problem has to be solved in the schema. Whatever
approach you choose to take, and whether or not Cayenne respects that
behind the scenes is irrelevant if the schema isn't modeled to cater to
the needs of the application.

We need to find a design pattern that everyone can agree on. I'd like to
ask anyone who is reading this, and has the time, to say what would be
important for them if Cayenne were to approach ordered relationships.

For me, scalability is always a high priority. I see the value in being
able to jump to the middle of the list quickly, so a linked list won't
work well when the chain gets long.

Simplicity is also important. The databases I interact with via Cayenne
are not exclusively touched by Cayenne, so if the approach requires me
to fill up my database with all kinds of non-intuitive relational
tables, I'm not going to take that approach.

Since it seems that simplicity (no extra tables), scalability (no linked
lists), and speed (no sorting) can't all co-exist simultaneously, I
think there has to be multiple solutions. The developer will have to
pick which one works for them, but hopefully they will be able to all
spawn from the generic List interface.

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