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by Burleson Consulting

The Data Warehouse Development Life Cycle

Oracle Data Warehouse Design
Dealing With Recursive Data Relationships
Unfortunately, the recursive many-to-many relationship is very confusing and almost impossible to understand without the aid of a graphical representation. Visualize the recursive many-to-many relationship as an ordinary many-to-many relationship with the owner entity "pulled apart" into owner1 and owner2. Figure 4.10 shows how the junction entity establishes the relationship.

Figure 4.10  Viewing a recursive many-to-many relationship as a many-to-many relationship.

The best way to conceptualize a recursive many-to-many relationship in a CODASYL model is through set occurrence diagrams. These diagrams show the pointer chains that link the relationships (see Figure 4.11). Table sketches show junction tables contain both implosion and explosion columns in relational databases.

Figure 4.11  A set occurrence diagram for a recursive relationship.

In Figure 4.11, we can navigate the database, determining the components for a Big_Meal. To navigate this diagram, start at the object Big_Meal and follow the Has_parts link to the bubble containing the number one. This is the quantity for the item. We now follow these bubbles to the Is_a_part link, which shows that one order of fries is included in a Big_Meal. We return to the Has_parts link for Big_Meal and find the next bubble. The Is_a_part link shows that one soda is included in a Big_Meal. We then continue this process until no further entities can be found in the Has_parts relationship. In sum, the Has_parts relationships indicates that a Big_Meal consists of one order of fries, one soda, and one hamburger. In addition, the hamburger consists of two meat patties and one bun.

This is an excerpt from "High Performance Data Warehousing". To learn more about Oracle, try "Oracle Tuning: The Definitive Reference", by Donald K. Burleson.  You can buy it direct from the publisher at 30% off here:


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