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From Andrus Adamchik <>
Subject Re: non meaningful pk philosophy, and composite pk question
Date Fri, 17 Dec 2010 20:23:42 GMT
Hi Joey,

On Dec 17, 2010, at 9:57 PM, Joseph P. Berglund wrote:
> I am new to cayenne, and am enjoying it immensely! A few questions- 
> A1) I understand that the use of automatically generated, non-meaningful primary keys
is one of the philosophies supported by cayenne.


> In this instance, what is the best practice method of referring to a row in a web based
application when I do not have direct access to the primary key? 
> I am assuming that I should create a UNIQUE attribute, like "name", that I can use to
refer to that row, but I want to make sure that is the right track.
> A2) If that is the case, are there any plans to implement easy access to the object through
the data context / data object without an expression (and without me writing it in my generic
wrapper object)? I.E. it would be nice if unique, non-pk rows could be access from the object
itself... (I.e. when I need to grab a user name, performing User user = User.forName("joe")
would rock my socks)

In general there isn't a natural second unique column in a table (the opposite would be a
special case IMO). So Cayenne doesn't try to address this directly, leaving it up to the users
to write such a "secondary PK" lookup method if they adopt such pattern in their design.

> B) Much of the data I am dealing with I have defined with composite primary keys. With
web applications, this involves me passing each key individually in an HTTP request. Is there
any easy way I can pass a record identity for a composite primary key.? I have looked at the
ObjectID, but from what I have seen, serializing/deserializing this requires more overhead
than I am comfortable with as I dont need a specific reference to the ObjectID class, but
to the row the class is identifying.

IIRC there were a few third-party implementations of this functionality, usually attached
to some frontend framework. Not so long ago I implemented yet another one, available in a
"sandbox" area of the Cayenne code repo:

more specifically:

The whole "cayenne-mixin" module idea is about building commonly-used extensions of Cayenne,
but the idea of a "referenceable" object is generic enough, so it has a chance to be moved
to the framework core in the future. In the meantime you can copy this code and adapt for
your app needs as you wish.


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