Re: [IndexedDB] Compound and multiple keys

Any other thoughts on this issue?

On Thu, Dec 2, 2010 at 7:19 AM, Keean Schupke <> wrote:

> I think I prefer A. Declaring the keys in advance is stating to sound a
> little like a schema, and when you go down that route you end up at SQL
> schemas (which is a good thing in my opinion). I understand however that
> some people are not so comfortable with the idea of a schema, and these
> people seem to be the kind of people that like IndexedDB. So, although I
> prefer A for me, I would have to say B for IndexedDB.
> So in conclusion: I think "B" is the better choice for IndexedDB, as it is
> more consistent with the design of IDB.
> As for the cons of "B", sorting an array is just like sorting a string, and
> it already supports string types.
> Surely there is also option "C":
> store.add({firstName: "Benny", lastName: "Zysk", age: 28}, ["firstName",
> "lastName"]);
> store.add({firstName: "Benny", lastName: "Andersson", age:
> 63}, ["firstName", "lastName"]);
> Like "A", but listing the properties to include in the composite index with
> each add, therefore avoiding the "schema"...
> As for layering the Relational API over the top, It doesn't make any
> difference, but I would prefer whichever has the best performance.
> Cheers,
> Keean.
> On 2 December 2010 00:57, Jonas Sicking <> wrote:
>> Hi IndexedDB fans (yay!!),
>> Problem description:
>> One of the current shortcomings of IndexedDB is that it doesn't
>> support compound indexes. I.e. indexing on more than one value. For
>> example it's impossible to index on, and therefor efficiently search
>> for, firstname and lastname in an objectStore which stores people. Or
>> index on to-address and date sent in an objectStore holding emails.
>> The way this is traditionally done is that multiple values are used as
>> key for each individual entry in an index or objectStore. For example
>> the CREATE INDEX statement in SQL can list multiple columns, and
>> CREATE TABLE statment can list several columns as PRIMARY KEY.
>> There have been a couple of suggestions how to do this in IndexedDB
>> Option A)
>> When specifying a key path in createObjectStore and createIndex, allow
>> an array of key-paths to be specified. Such as
>> store = db.createObjectStore("mystore", ["firstName", "lastName"]);
>> store.add({firstName: "Benny", lastName: "Zysk", age: 28});
>> store.add({firstName: "Benny", lastName: "Andersson", age: 63});
>> store.add({firstName: "Charlie", lastName: "Brown", age: 8});
>> The records are stored in the following order
>> "Benny", "Andersson"
>> "Benny", "Zysk"
>> "Charlie", "Brown"
>> Similarly, createIndex accepts the same syntax:
>> store.createIndex("myindex", ["lastName", "age"]);
>> Option B)
>> Allowing arrays as an additional data type for keys.
>> store = db.createObjectStore("mystore", "fullName");
>> store.add({fullName: ["Benny", "Zysk"], age: 28});
>> store.add({fullName: ["Benny", "Andersson"], age: 63});
>> store.add({fullName: ["Charlie", "Brown"], age: 8});
>> Also allows out-of-line keys using:
>> store = db.createObjectStore("mystore");
>> store.add({age: 28}, ["Benny", "Zysk"]);
>> store.add({age: 63}, ["Benny", "Andersson"]);
>> store.add({age: 8}, ["Charlie", "Brown"]);
>> (the sort order here is the same as in option A).
>> Similarly, if an index pointed used a keyPath which points to an
>> array, this would create an entry in the index which used a compound
>> key consisting of the values in the array.
>> There are of course advantages and disadvantages with both options.
>> Option A advantages:
>> * Ensures that at objectStore/index creation time the number of keys
>> are known. This allows the implementation to create and optimize the
>> index using this information. This is especially useful in situations
>> when the indexedDB implementation is backed by a SQL database which
>> uses columns as a way to represent multiple keys.
>> * Easy to use when key values appear as separate properties on the
>> stored object.
>> * Obvious how to sort entries.
>> Option A disadvantages:
>> * Doesn't allow compound out-of-line keys.
>> * Requires multiple properties to be added to stored objects if the
>> components of the key isn't available there (for example if it's
>> out-of-line or stored in an array).
>> Option B advantages:
>> * Allows compound out-of-line keys.
>> * Easy to use when the key values are handled as an array by other
>> code. Both when using in-line and out-of-line keys.
>> * Maximum flexibility since you can combine single-value keys and
>> compound keys in one objectStore, as well as arrays of different
>> length (we couldn't come up with use cases for this though).
>> Option B disadvantages:
>> * Requires defining sorting between single values and arrays, as well
>> as between arrays of different length.
>> * Requires a single property to be added to stored objects if the key
>> isn't available there (for example if it's stored as separate
>> properties).
>> There is of course a third alternative: Do both Option A and Option B.
>> This brings most of the advantages of both options, but also many of
>> the disadvantages of both. It also adds a lot of API surface which
>> could conflict with future features, so it's something I'd really like
>> to avoid.
>> Questions:
>> The main question we had if there is a use case for having different
>> number of compound-key-values for the entries in a index or
>> objectStore? I.e. is there a case when you, in one objectStore, want
>> to have one record with a compound key consisting of 2 different
>> values, and another record consisting of 3, 4 or 5?
>> In all the cases where I've used compound keys, each key-part has been
>> vital. For example a table storing sale totals by quarter, country and
>> price class. In this case it's obviously always going to be 3 parts to
>> the compound key. Does anyone have counter examples?
>> Similarly, are there use cases which require compound keys that
>> doesn't have a hard limit on the number of values? I.e. where you
>> could find out more and more detail about an item and describe that by
>> adding additional values to the key.
>> Another question is if there are databases out there which allow using
>> arrays as keys, similar to option B above. It seems particularly
>> likely to find "NoSQL" databases that uses this. None of the SQL
>> databases we looked at allowed keying off of arrays, which isn't
>> terribly surprising since SQL databases tend to create compound keys
>> using separate columns, rather than multiple values in a single
>> column.
>> Suggested solutions:
>> I'm currently leaning towards option A above. However I'd love to get
>> input from people with more database experience than me (especially
>> since mine is very SQL based), before that I don't have strong
>> opinions either way.
>> / Jonas

Received on Friday, 10 December 2010 12:35:31 UTC