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RDBMS composite key definition

Oracle expert Brian Peasland explains the terms composite key and problem space in RDBMS.

What is meant by "composite key" in RDBMS terms? How do you define "problem space" in RDBMS terms?
In your table, you have attributes. Those attributes are denoted as the columns of that table. Depending on your data and the entity you are modeling, it is possible for one column to serve as the primary key. In other cases, the primary key is composed of more than one column. A composite key is simply a key that is composed of more than one column.

In all my years with database systems, I have never heard of the term "problem space". I even went back to my old textbooks from when I studied database systems in graduate school and we never used that term there either. On the web, I did find the term "problem space" defined here:

Picking the right approach to database software

From the above website, basically the problem space is the list of rules, tasks, and outcomes needed to solve a problem. Moving this definition into the database world, I would add that the problem space also contains the entities and attributes needed to help solve the problem, or solve the business needs the database needs to support.

This was first published in March 2008

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