[ic] Multiple ship to's...

Warren Odom warren-odom@stenocall.com
Wed, 6 Dec 2000 10:41:27 -0600

Quoting Paul Stearns:
>I would recomend against using 1 table for 2 purposes, such as ship to and
bill to
>in the same table but different records.
>I also denormalize data when the needs of the application demand it.
>I don't have a problem with an address table, but if you have one, don't
>billing info in it.

First, a technical point:  After checking up to refresh my memory on
normalization rules, it appears that a "unified" address table, even if some
billing information is stored therein, does not violate first, second,
third, or even fourth normal form.  (This doesn't necessarily mean it's good
to do it, however.)

I actually have seen billing and shipping addresses combined like this into
one table before, but it only makes sense if there are not too many fields
that apply to one and not the other.

After sleeping on this question, I find myself migrating to the other side
of the fence and agreeing with Paul.  Because of the "messiness" described
in my original mail, I'd say keep shipping addresses in their own table
unless there are compelling reasons to do otherwise.  As Paul correctly
notes, there are occasions when you have to break the rules, but the burden
is on the rule-breaker to prove the cure won't be worse than the disease.

           -- Warren