Mysql Naming Convention
C. Ed Felt
ed at thefelts.net
Tue Apr 18 19:38:59 MDT 2006
Jonathan Ellis wrote:
On Tue, 18 Apr 2006 15:14:10 -0600, "kirk" <kirk at emstraffic.com> said:
I was wondering if there is a mysql naming convention for tables and
Table names should be plural.
Column names should be singular.
(/bites tongue to avoid reacting to someone using "mysql" when he means
"database." Although I suppose it's good not to confuse the two. :)
In my upper level Computer Science Database Theory course we used two
text books: big fat, ugly ones. Both used singular names for table
names. It appears that the reasoning was because the table name
itself really represents each singular "entity" and there are just
multiple rows of them. The table name represents a definition, not
necessarily the actual things in the table. I don't remember any hard
rules concerning the Structured Query Language entity (what we are
calling "table" here) with regard to implementation of plurality or
singularity in name. In the relational database diagrams, however, I
noticed that the name of the entity with it's attendant properties was
always singular. If you think about it, when you "map out" a database
on paper, you don't write "users" and then the user attributes
(columns) with plural names. When forming an ER diagram, the entities
(maps to "tables") are usually created with singular names, probably
since in the real world you are defining "a user" not a "users". If
we map ER or any other type of database schema to a database, it
probably makes more sense to stick to the singular naming convention,
if you want to follow academias way of doing things.
In fact, usually you don't see plural column names ("attributes" in an
ER diagram) as well, unless the attribute is itself plural. For
instance, a CSV field of email addresses might be called "emails",
since that one attribute represents several email addresses. But,
this is often bad design, as you should usually export multiple values
to a separate table and relate them back to the "user" with a foreign
Personally, I don't think it matters. But I hope I have shed some
light on why database tables and the charts that describe them usually
have singular names, (at least among those who have studied database
theory). Databases can function just fine with whatever name you
please, so long as you understand your definition.
That's just my 2 cents on db theory. "Yawn"
For a good definition of ER diagram check out:
This web site has some good info as well:
Or buy some mind numbing db theory books.
1. mailto:kirk at emstraffic.com
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