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From Jörg von Frantzius <joerg.von.frantz...@artnology.com>
Subject Re: Minutes: JDO TCK Conference Call Friday, July 14 9 am PST
Date Tue, 18 Jul 2006 10:44:26 GMT
Hi Craig,

Craig L Russell schrieb:
> Hi Jörg,
> On Jul 17, 2006, at 10:27 AM, Jörg von Frantzius wrote:
>> Craig L Russell schrieb:
>>>> If that's the case, then I wonder why a user would want to have FK 
>>>> constraints in his schema at all? They wouldn't be of much use then.
>>> If only using JDO, I agree. What matters is the consistency of the 
>>> object model, which is managed by the JDO implementation without 
>>> help from the database. But seldom is JDO the only access path to 
>>> the database.
>> To me this means losing an important data security feature when using 
>> JDO over other access paths to the DB. FK constraints can prevent you 
>> from inadvertently deleting data, and by silently removing any 
>> dangling references on the object level (and so circumventing any FK 
>> constraints) you are entirely losing this kind of "safety belt"! JDO 
>> would never tell you about these dangling references, but instead 
>> would silently go and delete that information.
> I'm not sure I understand your concern. Is it ok for the application 
> to explicitly nullify references to instances that it deletes? It's 
> not clear to me how a nullable database constraint improves the 
> reliability of your user's code.
Yes exactly, I find it good if the application programmer must 
explicitly nullify any references before deleting. That way he'll know 
what relationships exactly he is going to remove the object from. If it 
happens transparently and without notice, he might not realize the 
consequences. I find it adequate that code for deleting objects must be 
written with care.

So in my opinion, and from my experience, FK constraints help to prevent 
programming mistakes from creating serious data loss.
> On the other hand, if it is a requirement of the object model that 
> there must be a non-null reference to an instance, then would a 
> not-null foreign key satisfy the requirement? In this case, JPOX's 
> automatic nullification of the reference would cause a (null) 
> constraint violation. Or JPOX would throw an exception if it knew 
> about the not-null constraint. Or defer the delete until commit, by 
> which time the other side would have to have been set to a valid 
> not-deleted instance. And the application would have to be careful to 
> set the other side of the relationship.
That's interesting, but I wasn't thinking about FKs with an additional 
NOT-NULL constraint here. I was thinking of simply not allowing the 
deletion to happen at all, as it turned out to our own surprise, please 
see below.
> As you know, there are no TCK tests for these cases. I'd like to 
> formalize the specification and add some tests once we all agree on 
> the semantics.
>> As I wrote in an earlier mail, we had a case here where we were 
>> really lucky that the FK constraint would fire upon deletion, because 
>> we didn't think of all the relationships that an object would be 
>> removed from, and for which we really didn't want to lose the 
>> information. That was for users that are logged as creators and 
>> modifiers of other objects: if you can delete a user, you'll lose the 
>> information about who created or edited an object, something that 
>> would have gone lost silently forever if it wasn't for the FK 
>> constraints firing.
> So is it the case that explicitly nullifying the relationship is 
> illegal for the user? I'm trying to picture the security domain model 
> where a user is authorized to delete from a table but is not 
> authorized to set the column of a related table to null. How is this 
> supposed to work?
What I meant to say is that the "delete user" functionality of the 
application turned out to not having been thought out well enough. It 
was only when an end-user clicked the "delete"-button on another user 
that had already created or modified other objects, that we realized we 
don't want to allow a deletion in this case at all. And we realized it 
only because luckily an SQLException was thrown due to the constraint 

In this case, it would have been a serious mistake if the programmer had 
nullified the relationships explicitly, but in doing so he is forced to 
think twice about it, hopefully, and you can't prevent people from 
creating damage on purpose ;)
>>>> I may also add that, as far as I know, JPOX nulls out only for 
>>>> one-one bidirectional, not for one-many, so there would be some 
>>>> inconsistency of behaviour here.
>>> Interesting point, but without another level of detail, it's hard to 
>>> evaluate this statement.
>> If you look at the code in DeleteRequest, you'll see that in 
>> execute() it'll null out FKs for any fields obained using 
>> getFildsWithRelatedObjects(). The latter's javadoc says
>>         /**
>>          * All fields that have related objects and where we use the 
>> related object to
>>          * maintain a relationship. These are used where we have 1-1 
>> bidirectional
>>          * relationships with a single FK (in the other object).
>>          * @return The fields with related objects
>>          */
>>         public FieldMetaData[] getFieldsWithRelatedObjects()
>> That's the case for 1-1 relationships with "mapped-by" on the side 
>> where the object is deleted. From what I saw in my tests, that's 
>> where the nulling out happens, and it doesn't happen for one-many 
>> relationships with "mapped-by", so you'll see FK constraints 
>> violations there.
> For one-many relationships there is no additional foreign key. Take 
> the case of deleting an Employee for which there is a 
> Department-Employee relationship. There is no explicit database action 
> needed when deleting the Employee because there is no explicit 
> reference from the DEPARTMENT table to the key values in the EMPLOYEE 
> table. The primary key in EMPLOYEE defines the relationship.
What I was thinking of would in this example be a deletion of a 
Department that has Employees. I had understood you that you want to 
transparently have the Employees be removed from the Department when it 
is deleted. Currently JPOX doesn't do that, and an FK violation occurs.

Let's take this a step further. Let's assume that Department has an 
"employees" Collection field annotated with "mapped-by". That means we 
have two Java object references that are represented by one FK on the 
database level. From an object-oriented perspective, I shouldn't need to 
know that there is only a single FK, and where it is exactly. However, I 
can delete an Employee without further action, while I cannot delete a 
Department without further action. There is an asymmetry here that is 
rooted in the relational nature of the database, and, for the sake of 
transparency, it should be hidden. For the sake of data security, I'd 
prefer to hide the asymmetry by throwing exceptions in both cases

So I'd even say that it should not be possible to delete an Employee 
before removing it from its Department's employees collection, because 
there won't be any FK violation notifying of the dangling object 
reference. However, if you find that a little over the top, I won't 
insist too long as our code generator already causes exceptions to be 
thrown in these cases...
> Regards,
> Craig
>>> Regards,
>>> Craig
>>>> Regards,
>>>> Jörg
>>>> Craig L Russell schrieb:
>>>>> 2. Deletion of objects when foreign-key is present (JDO-392) (any 
>>>>> and all) It seems that there are two different issues: managing 
>>>>> the memory model and managing the database. Craig opines that the 
>>>>> general case of consistency is already covered in the chapter on 
>>>>> mapping, requiring that the object model be consistent after a 
>>>>> flush. Object model consistency would disallow a reference to a 
>>>>> deleted object, so the natural behavior would be to nullify the 
>>>>> reference to the deleted object. For to-many relationships mapped 
>>>>> to a foreign key on the other side, the consistency rule would 
>>>>> delete the reference from the collection on the one- side of the 
>>>>> relationship. So it seems that the JPOX behavior as originally 
>>>>> reported is consistent and we might simply document it in the 
>>>>> specification.
>>>> Why does object model consistency disallow a reference to a deleted 
>>>> object?
>>>> <joerg.von.frantzius.vcf>
>>> Craig Russell
>>> Architect, Sun Java Enterprise System http://java.sun.com/products/jdo
>>> 408 276-5638 mailto:Craig.Russell@sun.com
>>> P.S. A good JDO? O, Gasp!
>> <joerg.von.frantzius.vcf>
> Craig Russell
> Architect, Sun Java Enterprise System http://java.sun.com/products/jdo
> 408 276-5638 mailto:Craig.Russell@sun.com
> P.S. A good JDO? O, Gasp!

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