Waiting on Tables

Published by Lex on

Waiting on tables

In the digital world, we are often waiting on tables. The problem is that not everything is really tabular in nature. Force fitting things to work in digital format doesn’t always makes sense.

It is funny how so much of our digital life is waiting on tables. It is not that the tables are that slow, but it seems like everything is in either a row or column. Maybe a column is indexed and then things are really slick.

Two dimensional tables are poor representation of reality, but they are pretty easy to understand. That’s why every consulting company in the world uses them. Three dimensional tables do a better job of reflecting reality, but they are much more difficult to understand.

The problem is that we store all of our data in tables. We define relationships between tables and link tables on common fields, but relationships between data is way more complicated than that.

The oversimplification of data structures is one of the ways that we mess things up, yet conversely, complex data structures are fragile in different ways.

Rows and columns put information in order, but this is an artificial order. Data quickly overflows the table and you end up with the dreaded side note. The side note is fine as far it goes, but while it may be important it is often ignored because it doesn’t quite fit.

The important outlying information is ignored because it doesn’t fall into line. Sometimes if information in notes is important enough it could be converted into a column with simplified encoding. 

While we are waiting on tables the world marches on with its own natural spherical data structure.


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