in reply to Re^3: Perl to protect database field name info
in thread Perl to protect database field name info
I'll take a stab at it, although you might want to take what I say with several pinches of salt, since I haven't done very well at this lately.
Suppose I have a simple web application that gathers information about a customer -- their name, address, billing preferences, etc. Suppose I also want to store that information in a relational database. I think what dragonchild is saying is that how you gather that information from the user ought to be the way that best fits their domain -- that is, you might gather some or all of that information in a way that is user-friendly to them, whether squeezing it all on a single screen so that they don't have to keep hitting 'submit' all the time, or maybe you will slowly gather the information from them, snippets at a time, so as not to annoy your user. However you do this, it ought not to be constrained by your database structure or how you implement it on the back end -- in fact, you ought to 'abstract' the two domains (maybe by building classes that reflect the user's domain but which 'save' themselves to the database whenever they have enough information to do so). To make use of your example, it may not make sense for the user to separate his first and last name just because your database has a field for fname -- he may prefer to enter his full name in and let your application figure it out.
One way to think of it is as though two people (maybe they don't like each other very well) are writing the application -- one is a front-end developer and the other works on the database side. Your class modules will provide an API for the front-end, and another for the back-end, so that either can change independently of the other, and not break anything. So you might have a Customer class, which has methods for setting its private data elements (like name) and which knows how to save itself to one or more database tables. If the front-end guy decides to accept the customer's name in four fields (first, middle, last, suffix) your class just needs a method that can handle all four of those arguments and make sense of them. Similarly, if the back-end guy decides to munge all four fields into a single database field and moves that field to another table while he's at it, your class needs to know how to save the customer name, but the front-end guy shouldn't have to worry about it.
I fear I may not be doing a very good job at describing this concept, and I suspect it is something of which I have an imperfect understanding. Can anyone help me out with this?
Update: This thread: Design help: OO Perl and db tables dealt with some of the issues you raise, a month ago or so.